Kiwi back-row Richard Mayhew believes this Sunday’s Amlin Challenge Cup clash at home to Cammi Rugby Calvisano is the perfect tonic for his side to bounce back following their humbling experience against Harlequins (kick-off 3pm).
Mayhew, 28, who scooped the man-of-the-match award during the televised game with Quins, admits the European break is a timely distraction from the Premiership.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for us to bounce back and put in a solid performance against a strong Italian side,” said Mayhew.
“Hopefully we can get a good win and get some confidence back – the most important thing is to get that culture of winning back into the club.
“We’re looking forward to training hard this week and getting back on the horse this weekend,” he added.
The Falcons were put to the sword by a well-drilled Quins outfit with tries from Tom Williams, Danny Care and a Sam Smith double doing the damage.
Reflecting on the contest, Mayhew said: “It was a frustrating game, and we seemed to have a strong scrum and driving lineout, but ultimately Harlequins just showed what a quality side they are.
“We made too many errors and turnovers, and they capitalised on this. If you give teams like Harlequins the field position that we did, then they’re going to punish you like they did on Sunday.”
Smith’s try with barely a minute on the clock in the second period was a telling moment after the northeasterners had held their London counterparts 13-6 at the break.
“That was a crucial part of the game and you just can’t make that kind of start to a second half if you want to get anything out of a Premiership game,” said Mayhew.
“After that it was an uphill battle for us and we need to learn from the experience and eliminate silly errors from our game.
“Last year we could miss a tackle or knock the ball on, and we could scramble in defence, but in this league against the likes of Harlequins, Northampton and Saracens, they’ll kill you as we’ve seen first-hand. We’ll work on the positives such as our scrum and move on and keep building,” added Mayhew.
Tickets are still available for the Calvisano match by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.