Friday 25 July 2014 Written by: Adam

Falcons flanker Andy Saull is in an optimistic frame of mind ahead of the squad re-assembling next week for the next phase of pre season with the 25 year old revealing the team are making good strides as the preparations for the season ahead continue.

The former England Saxon has been enjoying a week long respite after five weeks of intensive conditioning and was enthused by the effort being shown by the squad to date.

“Pre-season is going well. Often guys come back a bit out of shape but this year that doesn’t seem to be the case – the lads have been breaking records in the gym since the first week back and I think we’ve actually come back from the break better.”

“We’ve been working hard in the gym and on the S&C side of things and everyone is determined to be better athletes so we can be sure to compete in the Aviva Premiership.”

“I’d say we’re ahead of the plan for training too and we’ve been able to integrate rugby into the fitness programme earlier than planned, so that’s positive.”

Heading into his second season as a Falcon there are a number of changes to get used to, with a new coaching set up and a new playing surface all coming into line this summer but Saull is positive about the impact both of these elements will make.

“For us this season with the new coaching set up there’s a change in game plan too and it’s important to start learning about that. Dave (Walder) especially has been a breath of fresh air – he’s a really good lad who understands this club and has brought a new outlook to training.

We’ve also got our new 3G pitch to look forward to which is something I experienced down at Saracens and it’s a fun surface to play on. You’re able to commit to far more knowing that you have a secure footing.”

“On that sort of surface though, contact becomes much more intense, which is fine with me because it’s a part of the game I love. On a grass pitch though there’s always an element of give which reduces the impact of tackles, but you don’t get that on the synthetic surface.”

“It is noticeably different to grass but the certainty of the surface you’re playing on definitely outweighs the negatives of that.”