Vickers raring for Premiership return

Thursday 18 December 2014 Written by: Adam

**strong text**After a mixed European window which saw his team take an aggregate score of 54 all across two legs against Stade Francais, Front Row Rob Vickers says the Falcons are looking forward to getting back into Aviva Premiership action and continuing their push to move up the league.

“The cup games are great and it was great to go out to Paris and play against Stade Francais, but it’s good to get back into the Premiership. It’s important because it’s the bread and butter of the team and we’re looking up – we want to be pushing hard now and to continue getting results.”

The Falcons return to the Premiership begins this Saturday when they travel to Twickenham Stoop to take on Harlequins. With Quins currently sat only one position above Newcastle Falcons in the league, there have been suggestions that this could be a good time to play the London side, but Vickers believes there is no room for complacency.

“Irrespective of where Quins are in the league you can’t take a team like that lightly. For a number of years now Quins have been a very good team and no matter where they are in the league, especially with their international players back, they’re still a very good team.

“We just have to go down there and try to impose ourselves on the game. How Quins approach it is their prerogative but we take every game seriously. I believe we’ve not won at the Stoop for a long time now so we’re going to go down there and, as always, the coaches come up with a game plan and it’s our job to execute that plan and try to secure a victory.”

There is a positive energy around the Falcons camp after a European window that saw many youngsters step up to the mark on their call up to the club’s first team.

“There were some players rested after the last Premiership games but the lads who’ve come in have played very well so there’s a lot of pressure from within the team now.

“That’s a good thing because week in week out the standards in training have been pushed along and are very well driven by the players and the coaches now, and that can only be a good thing to move forwards.”

Now in his ninth season with the Falcons Vickers could be considered one of the elder statesmen of the Falcons’ dressing room, and is keen to help that next crop of players through however he can.

“There are guys who’ve played a lot more senior rugby than I have but I think everyone is the same as each other now. The culture is evolving so that we all help each other and if someone offers advice it’s very much a case of taking that on board and hopefully I can be a part of that in terms of helping the younger lads through.”

Having celebrated his 33rd birthday earlier this month though, the versatile front row says he has no plans to step back from the game anytime soon.

“As players get older you know that your career will come to an end at some point and hopefully I’ll be able to control when that is. The moment the fire to play stops burning is the moment you need to step away, but I still get excited for every game. For me this weekend is another fantastic opportunity to go down and play against a quality team with a good crowd and a great atmosphere.”

The Falcons’ game against Harlequins kicks off at 3pm this Saturday, 20th December, at Twickenham Stoop. Commentary for the match will be available via the @FalconsRugby Twitter account or live on BBC Radio Newcastle.