Penny: Keep riding the wave

Wednesday 27 January 2021 Written by: Adam

The 2.30pm kick-off at Brentford Community Stadium sees the league’s most northerly club continue a start to the season which has brought just one defeat from their six games – that coming away at top-of-the-table Bristol.

“From the team’s perspective it’s been something near the ideal start,” said Penny, the 26-year-old who is in his second spell with his hometown club.

“We’ve won five out of six games in the league, and even though we’re still chasing that elusive bonus point I think we have to be happy overall with how things are shaping up.”

Asked about the reason for the newly-promoted outfit’s flying start, Penny said: “There’s just a huge belief within the camp at the moment.

“Going away to Bath on the first day of the season was big for us, not only winning the game but the way in which we played. That definitely stoked the fire among the boys, and it’s grown since then.

“Everyone’s playing for each other, which is a great starting point. We don’t have a lot of superstars but we work hard for one another, and we’ll graft til the end of any game we’re involved in.

“It’s been a bit of a snowball effect in terms of building from that opening win at Bath, then beating Sale, Wasps and Gloucester, and we’re riding the wave.

“We’re second in the league now, so any thoughts we had about flying under the radar are pretty much gone. Teams will be having more of a look at us, but from our side it’s about getting our own stuff right and just being precise on the day.

“You never want to get carried away, though, and we know we’re in for a tough game down at London Irish on Sunday.”

Revelling in his positional switch to full-back in a career which has seen him make 43 first team appearances for the Falcons, Penny insists he is loving life at No 15 following his return to the club from Harlequins.

“When I was talking to Dean Richards and Dave Walder about potentially coming back home, there was chat at that time about playing a bit of full-back,” said the former Alnwick and RGS Newcastle junior.

“It’s a position I’ve played before, I just haven’t for whatever reason thought about playing it for a few years.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing at 15 so I’m not quite sure why I never really pursued it over the past few seasons, but I’m loving it at the moment.

“You get a lot of freedom with playing all the way back there, and when you’re at centre you’ve just got massive guys running down your channel all day long.

“I’ve had a few injuries over my career so far, so being stuck in the centres probably wasn’t the smartest move from that side of things. You can argue full-back is less physical, even though you still get plenty of tackling to do, but it’s a position I’m having a lot of fun playing.”

Taking nothing for granted against an Exiles side who made a strong comeback to draw at Harlequins in their last outing, Penny added: “With the quality of opposition in the Premiership you’re never going to get an easy game, and we know London Irish will come out all guns blazing on Sunday.

“They’ve got a big pack, they have a couple of big Aussies in the second row and their set-piece will be decent enough. They have some dangerous backs as well, but as always we’ve done our homework.

“We feel there are a couple of opportunities for us which we’ll look to exploit, although we’ll have to work hard to nullify the threats that they’ll bring.”