Vickers: We’re out to prove a point on Friday
The 8pm kick-off sees the prop-forward and his side striving to atone for the heavy defeat they endured at Harlequins last time out, Vickers determined their good work this term will not just fizzle out.
“I’ve got so much confidence in this group of players and coaches, and what we need to do is make sure that our last game at Harlequins doesn’t become the hallmark of our season,” said the Yorkshireman.
“Our good work this season will look more like a fluke if we don’t end the Premiership strongly. We’ve had some poor performances but we want to put our true mark back onto this season.”
Revealing the honesty with which the squad went over their last performance, Vickers said: “You have to give credit where it’s due to Harlequins, but on the same note we were also very poor in many facets of our own game.
“The easiest thing in the world would be to say they had loads of international players returning to their side, but I also think we have to be honest and say we were poor on the day. We have international-class players and threats all over the field, but we didn’t play to our potential.
“We as a group of players had a very honest discussion on the Monday morning when we went through the video, and the coaches gave us their thoughts on the back of that. The key thing to come through was that it was nowhere near the standards we demand of ourselves, it was poor and we’ve accepted we need to face up to that.
“What’s important now is that we take those lessons and move forward as a team, and that we deliver on Friday night. We’re back at home against a Gloucester side who did well and won last weekend in their Challenge Cup quarter-final, and we want to play well in front of our own fans. We want to show them what we are all about as a team and what this season has been built on.”
Having already defeated Gloucester once this season thanks to an 18-13 triumph at Kingsholm in September, the loose-head is ready for what he knows will be a fierce response from the in-form Cherry and Whites.
“Having lost to us at home earlier in the season we know Gloucester will come up here all guns blazing, and they’ll have that extra bit of bite to their game in wanting to prove a point,” said Vickers.
“Like most teams in the league they’ve got a good pack, an abrasive front-row and their wingers are on fire, but we’ve got some of the best wingers around with guys like Niki Goneva, Sinoti, Marcus Watson and all those guys. You won’t find many better than them in the league, and if we as a pack can deliver set-piece ball for our backs I think we have a really good opportunity to showcase our game rather than worrying about theirs.”
On the night that full-back Alex Tait is set to play his 200th game for the club, the only other double centurion in the Falcons’ squad has spoken of the importance of recognising the milestone.
“Taity has been and still is a fantastic pro, and most of his 200 appearances have been starts. That says a lot about how consistent he has been over the best part of a decade, and by consistent I mean consistently outstanding,” he said.
“He has been one of the first names on the team sheet for most of that time, and it’s also worth saying how loyal he has been to the Falcons. In the current market he is a very easy player to move on to another club, but he has stayed here during some pretty difficult periods. That has led on to better things in recent times, and for Taity to reach the 200 is a great honour. I don’t think Mark Wilson and Will Welch will be too far behind, and when you have a core of those players coming through together it’s great for the club.
“It’s hugely important that the club are recognising these milestones, because one of our core values is loyalty. I think you have to make a song and dance about these occasions because not many people get to 200 with a professional club. You have to put Taity on a pedestal on Friday, recognise that it’s fantastic and applaud what he has achieved.”
Tickets for Friday night’s visit of Gloucester (kick-off 8pm) are available by calling 0871 226 6060, [**clicking here**] or from the stadium in person.