Vickers praises Falcons’ mix of experience and energy

Thursday 30 October 2014 Written by: Adam

As Newcastle Falcons head into the opening game of their LV= Cup campaign on the back of two strong European victories, Rob Vickers says he believes the club is in a particularly strong position to continue to push forward, particularly in a competition renowned for developing young talent.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s LV= Cup match against Northampton Saints, Front Row Vickers believes the Falcons are in a great position with a good mix of both enthusiasm and experience in the squad.

“For us to be in the position we are where we have an experienced group of players who can educate and help develop a younger group, who then have the enthusiasm and the energy and the drive is a good position to be in. I think we’ve really started to build something now which is quite nice.”

“You try to guide and to help if people want it, or to curb some of the energy. But the crop of youngsters that are coming through now are immensely talented anyway, so it’s just a little bit of a tweak here and there rather than a full scale needing to reign people in or to re-direct them. “

Vickers gained first-hand experience of playing alongside that talented crop of youngsters during last weekend’s 26-30 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons, when he picked up his 160th club cap.

“Both the Bucharest and Newport games allowed a few of the old guys to get rested and a few of the younger guys to come in in their place. Effectively we swapped some of our experience for their energy and enthusiasm but it worked well. And playing with some of those younger guys on Friday night showed me that energy and kept me moving as well so it’s a good thing all round.”

Back to match fitness and putting himself forward for the starting line up again after a challenging start to the season, Vickers admits that the season so far has been a frustrating one for him.

“It’s been a long slog since I had surgery in the summer and then injury in the first game back. It’s been a long pre-season so I’m still trying to find my lungs a bit but that will keep improving as we work our way through the various cup competitions. Hopefully I can continue to get some game time in those and come the next round of Premiership games I’ll be there or thereabouts to put my hat in the ring and say give me a go.”

“Personally it was frustrating not to be involved and to watch how close we were getting but how far we sometimes were. We were working really, really hard to score tries but were then gifting points again too. But the lads dug really deep and the performance against Exeter backed up everything they’d done in the four weeks prior to that.”

“To get that win meant the monkey was off our backs and away we could go. The game against London Welsh was another fantastic win, which put us in a strong position for the Premiership break and since then, in the European competition we’ve had good wins which gave us a lot to be positive about. Now we just need to carry that forward as much as we can.”

Something of a club stalwart, Vickers has seen a great deal of changes over his time at Kingston Park, all of which have contributed to the strong and positive position the club finds itself in now.

“This season we’ve had a number of changes – new players, changes to the coaching team and a change in philosophy, and all of those things add up. But the pitch is a big factor too without a doubt. Over the years the Kingston Park pitch had been getting worse; people would say ‘you play on it every week, you know what to expect’ and you do, but every week you would be getting drained and it just sapped you week on week. But the new pitch is fantastic and makes a big difference.”

One aspect of the club that has remained unchanged throughout Vickers tenure at the club is the support of the fans, with their support drawing Vickers praise.

“The fans have been consistently brilliant. Throughout the depths of last year when we were struggling they would still turn up, and at the start of this season they turned up too.

“As a player you love coming out of the East Stand and looking over to the West to see lots of people and hearing them cheer, and the fans are the one thing that have remained the same through the darker days of the past and will hopefully remain into the future too.”

The Falcons kick off their LV= Cup campaign away to Northampton Saints this Saturday (ko 4pm) before heading back to Kingston Park the following Friday (7th November, ko 8pm) to take on Cardiff Blues in the same competition.

Tickets for the Cardiff game, as well as the club’s next home Aviva Premiership fixture – their Bring the Noise match against Gloucester – are available now [online][1] or from the Falcons’ 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 starting from only £15.