Hammersley braced for Sixways test

Thursday 13 September 2018

Full-back Simon Hammersley says he and his Newcastle Falcons side will be paying full respect to Worcester Warriors as they make the Gallagher Premiership trip to Sixways on Saturday.

Both sides remain win-less after the opening two rounds of league action, Hammersley insisting the Falcons have a few ‘easy fixes’ to bounce back from losses against champions Saracens and a rejuvenated Leicester Tigers.

“It has been a so-so start to the season,” said the Yorkshireman.

“We felt Saracens at home was a game we could have won but we left a few chances out there, and to be fair to them they can strangle teams. That was a bit disappointing, and Leicester likewise, because for all that we produced in attack we just didn’t defend.

“We’re pleased in the sense that we’ve shown we can score tries but we know we need to step it up. Defensively we’ve been working hard at ironing out the errors and we don’t feel we’re far away.

“In terms of our league position after two games, I don’t think any of the boys will have even looked at it. The fixture list meant it was always going to be a tough start, and the biggest disappointment has been in terms of us as individuals executing our skills. The coaching team have put in place the correct game plans and we haven’t been able to deliver them well enough, so it’s a case of us as players shouldering that in terms of our concentration and discipline to keep doing our own jobs.

“The good thing is they are all things which are easily fixed, and we’re confident we can go down to Worcester and turn them over.”

The Warriors have also suffered a pair of defeats to kick off the new campaign, Hammersley saying: “Worcester have had two close losses to good sides in Wasp and Sale, and we have to take them seriously.

“Pundits at the start of the season will always pick out a couple of teams who they think will struggle, and in past years we’ve been among those names. We know first hand that it means nothing when you’re bracketed for that kind of thing and we’ve got a lot of respect for Worcester.

“They have a big, physical pack, they base a lot of their game on that forward power and then in the backs they have a lot of ball-players in the middle, plus a back three who can carve you apart if you give them the ball in space.

“Chris Pennell at full-back is a good player who has time on the ball and makes it look easy, and if you combine that with two fast and powerful guys like Josh Adams and Bryce Heem on the wings, it’s a really nice back three. We know how important our kick-chase is going to be in terms of strangling their counter-attack, and it’ll be a good battle.”

Asked if the Falcons are feeling a new kind of pressure after finishing in a 20-year-high league position of fourth last season, the Durham University economics graduate said: “There’s not a different pressure on us within the group because we genuinely expected to do well last year. Maybe we caught a few of the pundits by surprise a bit, but we knew we had a great squad and top coaches.

“Maybe it’s the case that opposition teams will now take us a little bit more seriously and do some extra analysis on us going into games, but it’s not a major shift in terms of how we’re approaching things. Good teams will have that scrutiny, it’s a compliment in a way and we’ve just got to be better at doing the things we’re good at.”

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