Greg Peterson might be far away from home but Newcastle Falcons’ American international still intends to celebrate thanksgiving prior to Friday’s home game against Hartpury.
The 28-year-old is a recent arrival at Kingston Park following Rugby World Cup duty in Japan where he took his tally of test caps up to 30, and after two bench outings for the Falcons the 6 foot 10 lock-forward is looking forward to helping extend his new club’s winning streak to ten games.
Before that there is the small matter of his country’s national festival, although as Peterson himself explains he is a true global citizen.
“Both of my parents are American but I was born and raised in Sydney,” he said.
“I grew up in what was basically a normal American household – it just happened to be in Australia!
“My old man would wake me up to watch his college team and then his NFL team playing American football, we celebrated Independence Day on July 4 and we’ve got thanksgiving this week. I’m pretty much American, I just don’t have the accent!
“I’ll still be celebrating thanksgiving here in Newcastle, although it will be just myself, my wife and our baby.
“We’ll still have turkey, although with having a game the next day it’ll just be a turkey breast with a little bit of veg rather than anything crazy like we’ve had in the past.”
Settling into his new surroundings after landing from Japan less than a month ago, Peterson said: “The region here is awesome.
“Having joined here from Bordeaux it’s obviously very different, but with playing for Glasgow before that I’ve had some great experience of being in somewhere which seems to be pretty similar.
“The people are really friendly here, the city seems nice and as time goes on we’ll get out and about more in terms of the wider area. But from a family perspective we already love it here, and it feels like home.
“I think my time at Glasgow will definitely stand me in good stead here.
“When I first moved there from Australia I consciously had the mind-set that I wasn’t going to let things like the weather get to me, and over time you just get used to it. A little bit of sun every now and then is good for the morale, but it’s got so much other stuff going for it that you just have to take a wider view.”
Taking positive impressions from the Rugby World Cup into his latest challenge with Newcastle, he said: “Being part of the whole event out in Japan was just an incredible experience in terms of both the rugby and the cultural stuff around it.
“The fans were amazing and the games were great to be involved in, although we’d have obviously liked to have won a couple more.
“We knew it was going to be a tough challenge as soon as the pools were drawn, and we came up against some top opposition in England, France, Argentina and Tonga. I sat there at the end feeling pretty defeated about the whole thing, but when I’d had some time to take a wider view of it you do get a sense of perspective.
“Between the last two World Cups over a four-year period we’d only played three matches against tier one nations, then in a 21-day period at the World Cup we played three tier one nations. That in itself was great for us to be exposed to that level, and to be competitive for a good portion of those games.
“There’s still a learning curve for USA Rugby and we all realise that, but if we keep building the way we are over the next four years then I think we’ll be in a good place for when the next World Cup comes around.”
Thrown straight into action by the Falcons upon his return from Japan, Peterson was unperturbed by his swift call to arms.
“Going from one team to another in the space of a few days has certainly been challenging, but it’s good to jump straight in and learn on your feet,” he said.
“The calls are obviously different, but the thing I like about Newcastle’s system is that it’s exactly how I would run if it if I was a coach.
“It’s simple, direct and everything makes sense. Yeah, it takes a little bit of time to nail all of the calls, but it’s sinking in now and I’m feeling more and more confident with it.
“It’s been great to have a couple of involvements from the bench, and just learning every day in training. It’s good fun, the boys push each other hard and I’m gradually feeling more confident the more I get used to things here.
“I know my roles better out on the field, it’s starting to become second nature and it’s only natural that those things take a little bit of time when you’ve only just arrived somewhere.”
Tickets for Friday’s 8pm Championship Cup kick-off against Hartpury are available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or from Kingston Park Stadium in person. The game is preceded at 4pm by the BUCS Super Rugby match between Northumbria University and Hartpury. Entry for this game is included in the price of a Falcons match ticket.