Fresh from helping England defeat world champions South Africa last weekend, Jamie Blamire is back into club mode as Newcastle Falcons prepare to host Worcester Warriors on Saturday night.
The Cumbrian hooker started in Saturday’s 27-26 victory over the Springboks, playing the first hour of the Twickenham triumph before heading back to the North East.
“As much as I enjoyed the time with England, it’s great being back with Newcastle,” said the academy graduate, who came through the Falcons’ ACE programme at Gosforth Academy.
“The only bad thing since I got back has been the weather. It feels a lot colder up here after a month in London!
“It’s great to catch up with everyone again, though, and nice to be able to go home at the end of each day.”
Taking up a position on the bench for Saturday’s 6pm kick-off, the man who has scored six tries in five tests for England said: “Worcester is a really important game for us, we’ve prepared well and hopefully we can do a job on them.
“In terms of the selection I’ll just keep focusing on my own performance, and let the coaches worry about picking the team. That’s down to Dean and his staff to decide, and I’m just looking forward to being involved in a big home game.
“We’ve got huge belief in the squad, and with winning away at Exeter in our last league game the boys have shown what they’re about. We’ve got quality in every position, and I really feel like top six is definitely achievable.”
Reflecting on how far he has come as a player in a short space of time, the Workington native said: “It’s a long old drive from West Cumbria to Newcastle, and with training twice a week sometimes it meant my grandma picking me up straight from school, or my mum and dad taking it in turns because it was such a long trip for them. It was all a massive help, and the last few weeks have been really nice for them in terms of knowing the part they’ve played.
“I’ve not changed as a person, but I think as a player it will have helped me get better. England train and play in a slightly different way to Newcastle, and it’s good to have an exposure to both. The Falcons coaches have been keen to chat about what we’ve been doing with England, seeing if there’s anything we can take from it for the club side, and our forwards coach Micky Ward has been great.
“He’s just always keen to learn, and when it comes to the scrum and line-out stuff he’s keen to hear about different approaches and to find out how England have approached it. Newcastle and England have different systems in how they play the game - for example there’s more kicking with England than there is with the Falcons, and it’s just getting used to that and adapting to it.”
Becoming the first England forward to score in four consecutive tests after making his debut against the USA in the summer, Blamire said: “The summer and the Tonga games were all great experiences and I learnt a lot from them, but then the Australia and South Africa weeks were a step up just in terms of the media interest and everything going on around it.
“You realise how big of an occasion it is when you’re in the middle of it, and it was pretty mental running out on that pitch last weekend in front of 80-odd thousand people. I actually wasn’t too bad in terms of nerves, because having benched in the Tonga and Australia games I’d got used to it a bit. You try not to think about it too much, although when I came off around the hour mark I had a chance to take it in a bit more.”
Not having too much time to worry about nerves ahead of Saturday’s start against world champions South Africa, he revealed: “We had training on the Thursday and then got told the team when we were on the field after the session. I think the media might have found out before the players, or certainly not long after, so it wasn’t a case of knowing all week that I was going to be in the team or anything like that.
“You’ve just got to focus on the game during the week rather than letting little thoughts get into your head, although obviously with all the injuries in the squad around that time I had a reasonable idea that I might be involved. I just tried to treat it like any other match, and prepare as I normally would.
“We’d spoken about the challenge of playing the South African pack, but not in the sense of being daunted. We wanted to take them on, to test ourselves and do a job on them, and I think first half we definitely did do that. They’re obviously all massive blokes, so you’ve got to be absolutely perfect in your technique.
“We deserved to be ahead in the first half but just kept letting them back into the game with little bits of discipline, but in the end it was mental to get the result.”
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