Josh Matavesi says Newcastle Falcons’ supporters can help the team deliver an early Christmas present by raising the roof against Harlequins on Saturday.
Strong sales for the 3pm kick-off have seen all seats sold and the South Stand filling up fast, with fans urged to book in advance to avoid missing out on what could be the second sell-out of the season.
Matavesi, the Fijian international who joined the club from Ospreys in the summer, said: “It makes a hell of a difference as a player when you run out for your warm-up and you can feel the atmosphere building, then by the time kick-off comes the place just explodes.
“I’m someone who really thrives on the atmosphere because I feel it adds a lot to the game, and especially when you get a break in play the crowd getting involved gives you a massive lift.”
Forecasting an entertaining fixture, Matavesi said: “Harlequins can be an unpredictable side but they have a huge amount of talent.
“Mike Brown has a big left boot and a good running game, Danny Care is the heartbeat of their team and if you can nullify his tempo that’s a big factor.
“If the weather’s okay it should be a great game for the crowd because both teams like to attack, there should be plenty of tries scored and maybe the defence coaches should just take the afternoon off!”
The 27-year-old has been part of an improved Falcons’ showing this season, and is setting a high bar when asked about the potential within the group.
“The people that Dean has recruited and the boys who were here already know the potential of this squad, and we’re not happy with mediocrity,” he said.
“We don’t feel that the middle of the Premiership is good enough when you consider the talent and experience we have, and when you’re bringing in guys like Toby Flood, Maxime Mermoz, myself and everyone else, we’re not coming here to be in the middle of the pack.
“We want top six, top four, whatever label you want to put on it – basically, we want to be challenging for honours. I’ll make no bones about saying that in public, and it rubs off on people. Guys here now won’t settle for second best, being a middle of the road side holds no interest for us and you won’t catch us celebrating if we finish in those places.
“You can see it in training every day because every single bit of it is competitive, even if it’s just a little touch game or a ‘first to the 20-metre mark’ race. We can’t allow that competitiveness to fall off, and I don’t think it will. We enjoy that side of things.”
Once matters this weekend are concluded Matavesi will be donning the chef’s apron in preparing Christmas dinner, albeit with a few tips from a team-mate.
He said: “Christmas was great when I was a player in France because we had 12 days off, but the down side was the season lasted for about eleven and a half months!
“It’s going to be a relatively quiet one for us this year, my brother is coming up and my partner’s parents are coming too, so it won’t be too mad. It’ll just be turkey, presents, and I’ll have the old chef’s hat on.
“I quite enjoy cooking and I’m always getting tips off Juan Pablo Socino. He is absolutely the man when it comes to cooking, so all the boys are into him all the time getting various tips and recipes. Let’s just say I’ve been taking a lot of notes!”
Tickets for Saturday’s home game against Harlequins are available by clicking here or calling 0871 226 6060.