Embarking on his second pre-season as a professional rugby player, Newcastle Falcons prop Trevor Davison says he is ready to kick on from a maiden campaign which saw him making 23 first team appearances.
The 25-year-old was a late bloomer after rising through the ranks at Blaydon, the former beer delivery man only becoming a full-time player this time last year.
The England Counties prop was thrown in at the deep end during an impressive 2017-18 for the Falcons, one which saw him featuring heavily as they reached the semi-finals in the Premiership, European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup.
“It was a lot harder last year because my fitness levels when I started weren’t up to where a professional player would normally be, but I’ve come back for the start of this pre-season in the same shape I was at the end of last season,” said the Geordie native.
“Pre-season is still hard, don’t get me wrong, but I’m much better equipped now to cope with it.
“Here at Newcastle we look to play a pretty fast, expansive style, and that includes every player. Even as a prop we do pretty much the same running as the backs, although I think we should get the backs into the scrummaging sessions if we wanted to be really fair about it!”
Reflecting on a remarkable first year as a pro, Davison said: “Last season was overwhelming, in a way.
“I didn’t expect to play in as many games as I did – especially at tight-head, when I was signed mainly to play loose-head. The whole thing was a huge learning curve, I just tried to work as hard as I could and take it all in, and in the end I was quite happy with the progress I made.
“Playing a full 80 minutes away to Saracens was probably a personal highlight, even though we lost the game. I came in at two minutes’ notice due to an injury in the warm-up and it was great to start at that level, and then playing at St James’ Park would have to be another special moment.”
Well aware that the Falcons’ card will be marked going into the 2018-19 season, Davison insists the mind-set within the walls of the Kingston Park dressing room is no different to how it was 12 months ago.
“Last season we probably caught a few of the pundits by surprise, but it was no shock to us that we did so well,” he said.
“We always had belief in ourselves even if some people outside of the club didn’t, and we’re in a good position to improve on it this coming year. We’ve kept the bulk of the squad together, the few signings we’ve added have been targeted quality additions but the majority of the lads who did so well last season are ready to go again.”
The Falcons have a tantalising start to the new Gallagher Premiership season when they host champions Saracens at Kingston Park Stadium on Sunday September 2, while their Heineken Champions Cup draw sees them grouped with Toulon, Edinburgh and Montpellier.
“I’m not going to lie, as players you do have a look at the fixtures, but it doesn’t really change anything we’re doing,” said Davison.
“Saracens at home is great for a first game because you want to test yourself against the best, and it’s also positive that it will be in front of our own supporters up here.
“In Europe as well there’s a lot of excitement about being in the Champions Cup, we know who’s in our group now but we’ll have to wait until later in the season to start thinking about that. For the time being it’s just about knuckling down, doing our work and making sure we’re properly prepared for what’s around the corner.”
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