Rob Vickers says his Newcastle Falcons side are searching for further improvements ahead of Sunday’s Aviva Premiership visit of Harlequins, rather than basking in last week’s victory at Northampton Saints.
Vickers was part of the Falcons side which triumphed 22-16 at Franklin’s Gardens last time out, the prop saying: “A sign of where the club is at the moment is the fact we were disappointed with some aspects of how we played at Northampton, even having won the game. That shows the standards we are striving for.
“We have been critical of ourselves this week. In the first half at Northampton we had lots of control and composure, whereas in the second half despite playing against 14 men we didn’t. It’s often the case that a side down to 14 can be galvanised a little bit, but we shouldn’t be conceding the try we did against a team with one man less than us.
“We have been critical of that, and I think that is a sign of the fact we know we can improve further. Having won that game we can’t just sit on our backsides, because Harlequins present a big challenge on Sunday.
“The lads are absolutely buzzing about facing Quins. We want to play for the club, the fans and we want to put on a performance. That’s what the hard work has been going towards, and you always enjoy training on the back of a win. We have quickly parked Northampton, we did our review early in the week and that was it done, so from that moment forward it has been full steam ahead for Sunday.”
Having tasted defeat in their last home outing when a season-high crowd turned out for the visit of Exeter Chiefs, Vickers said: “This past fortnight has kind of been indicative of our season so far.
“As a team we were disappointed with how we played in our last home game against Exeter. There were lots and lots of fans attracted to the stadium that night and we want to show the North East public just what this group of players is all about.
“We have won a couple of games on the road and a couple at home from our nine in the league, but we want to put in a proper home performance which puts across how proud we are to represent them and this region.
“We have a load of good young players pushing onto the Aviva Premiership stage now and the club is in good hands. There is a nice balance of old guys trying to move as fast as we can, and young whippersnappers moving past us. We are all pulling in the same direction, and if you look at the impact of our bench last week it is really pleasing how everyone is playing their part.”
Believing a multi-faced attacking threat holds the key despite Vereniki Goneva taking much of the glory for last week’s winner, he added: “Niki is a major strike threat in his own right as everyone has seen down the years, but also with that proven record of try-scoring he creates space for other players by drawing defences towards him.
“That is almost as important as the scoring contribution he makes on his own, so you have guys like Juan Pablo Socino enjoying an extra yard of room because guys are zoning in on Niki. The goal is to have those strike threats all the way through the team.
“It’s the same in the forwards. If you’re obviously just going to carry the ball round the corner then you will have defenders waiting for you and you’re probably going to get smoked, but if you have a few viable options you’re going to get more go-forward or break that tackle, which is when doors start to open for you.
“Opeti Fonua off the bench was a prime example of that at Northampton. As a front-row we said to him to keep the ball in at the base of the scrum rather than picking and going, but he picked it up straightaway and ended up 10 yards past us after breaking the gain line. Fair play to the bloke because he drew in their seven and fly-half, and partly as a result of that defensive disorganisation we ended up scoring through Will Witty.
“It all comes via having that balanced team, having different styles of play within the same side, and when you have that you’re in a good place. Let’s see what Harlequins bring on Sunday, but I’m confident about what we have got and what we can achieve.”
Tickets for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or by clicking here. Supporters are entitled to free curry around 30 minutes after the final whistle in the 1877 Bar, which is situated in the first floor of the East Stand.