Johnny Williams reflected on an impressive Newcastle Falcons debut as the centre helped his side to a 47-26 home win over Nottingham in Saturday’s pre-season opener at Kingston Park Stadium.
The former London Irish man made a considerable impact from the bench during a try-laden 90 minutes of rugby against the Championship side, saying afterwards: “I’m proud to now be able to call myself a Newcastle Falcon, and it was great to blow away a few cobwebs.
“It was one of those days whereby it’s the first hit-out of the season, it was far from perfect and we have a lot to work on before the Gallagher Premiership opener at home to Saracens.
“But we’re looking forward to it, we’re working hard every day and there was some decent stuff being played at times today.”
Admitting it was by no means the complete performance, Williams added: “You can’t really read too much into pre-season games, especially the early ones, and we’ll have a lot of work-ons in the weeks ahead.
“Sarries at home is a monster of a game for the first weekend of the Premiership on September 2, but everyone here is really up for that challenge and looking to build our game leading into it. We’ll be taking it to them rather than worrying about them, but we’ve got plenty to do in the intervening weeks.”
Reporting positive early experiences from his time as a Newcastle player, he said: “It has been refreshing being up here over the past month or two.
“I don’t mean that in a negative way to London Irish in the slightest because I enjoyed my time there, but if you’ve had one way of playing for your whole career and you’re used to one thing it’s good to get out of that comfort zone and try to grow as a player.
“I want to learn and develop in this environment, which I feel I’m doing, and we’ve got a fantastic squad. The Falcons did very well last season in all competitions, I see no reason why we can’t do the same again and I’m enjoying this chance to really push myself.”
Newcastle’s next pre-season assignment is away to European and Pro 14 champions Leinster on Friday, followed by the visit of Edinburgh to Kingston Park Stadium on Friday August 24. Tickets for the Edinburgh match can be bought by clicking here.