USA international Greg Peterson says Newcastle Falcons are determined to reach the half-way point of the season with their unbeaten record intact as they prepare to host Ampthill on Sunday.
Having played 10 of their 22 league games the Greene King IPA Championship leaders have a nine-point buffer between themselves and second-placed Cornish Pirates - Peterson having scored his first try for the club during last Friday’s 19-12 triumph at Nottingham.
At the same stage last season eventual title winners London Irish had two fewer points than the Falcons currently do and had already lost a game, while no team has gone through the entire Championship season unbeaten since Northampton Saints in 2007-8.
“It feels like a long time since we had a game at home, and we’re a team that really thrives on that,” said Peterson.
“We enjoy getting our at Kingston Park and everyone wants to put on a real good performance for our supporters, and to reach the half-way point of the season with our unbeaten record still standing.
“When you’ve won as many games as we have it’s easy for complacency to start to creep in, and we’re very conscious of that. There’s a big onus on continually driving our own standards regardless of the result, and the guys are really good at pushing each other on.”
Joining the Falcons last summer from Bordeaux-Begles via Japan after playing for the USA during the Rugby World Cup, the giant lock said: “Bordeaux to Newcastle is a bit of a change, but it’s great over here and I’m enjoying it.
“It’s a couple of degrees colder but the sun still shines here, and I can’t complain.
“I’m happy to be helping the boys to keep the wins coming, and to be gradually getting some more game time from a personal viewpoint has been great. I’m starting to get some more continuity, and that’s really helping.”
Up against new opposition this weekend as the Falcons host Ampthill for the first ever time, Peterson said: “Ampthill will be up for it on Sunday, just as every team seems to be when they play against us.
“They play some good footy, they’re in the top half of the table and they’ll show their teeth. It’s certainly not one to take lightly, and they’ve taken some big scalps.”
Hopeful of a better all-round performance than last weekend’s at Nottingham, the former Glasgow lock added: “It was hard work down there, they knew exactly how to play on that pitch and they managed to manipulate us in ways that we almost weren’t ready for.
“Credit to them because I thought they played well on the night, but the Falcons boys really dug in and showed our true grit. It wasn’t the prettiest, but ultimately we came away with another win.”