Wilson sets sights on best record in 15 years

Wednesday 26 April 2017 Written by: Adam

Not since the 2001-2 campaign have the Falcons won 10 or more of their 22 league games, and with two matches remaining Wilson’s side are currently sat on eight. Six of those have come at Kingston Park, the first time since 2008-9 that the club have won more than half of their 11 home games in the division.

“I’m really pleased with where the club has gone recently, and from when I started playing here,” said Wilson, the energetic flanker who has scored five tries in his 19 league starts this season.

“We’ve still got a long way to go and we’ve by no means cracked it, but usually at this stage we’re scrapping to get results just to keep us in the division. It’s good to be in a position where we’re thinking about Champions Cup qualification, and to see progress being made.

“If we win our last two games it would be the first time since 2002 that we’ve won 10 Premiership games in a season, and we’re already looking at our highest league finish in seven years if we stay in ninth. It’s great to see us moving in the right direction, even if it’s just a stepping stone to where we want to be in two or three seasons.”

Striving to play in Europe’s top-tier competition for the first time since 2005, the Cumbrian added: “Friday night is a massive game for us. We’ve got to win to put ourselves in the mix for Champions Cup qualification, and everything we’re doing this week is geared towards getting the five points.

“We know we can still qualify for the Champions Cup but we can’t affect other results, so all we can do is win our own games and see what happens. If we beat Worcester and the teams around us lose, then we’re in a better position, but we can’t do any more than take care of our own two remaining games.”

Up against a familiar face with former Falcons boss Gary Gold having recently taken over at Worcester, Wilson was asked whether his inside knowledge would be an assisting factor ahead of the final home game of the regular season.

“It’s good for us to know how Gary thinks, but on the flip side he knows how certain individuals in our team play the game,” said the 27-year-old, who tops the Premiership tackle-count stats and sits sixth in the division for turnovers won.

“There are pros and cons in that sense, but Gary has his own style and it has worked for him. As I always say, and I know it’s a cliché, we’re just focusing on ourselves. We want to impose our game onto them, give the ball to the threats we have in attack and then turn up physically in defence.

“Everyone talks about our back three, and rightly so, but the other cogs in the machine are also important in terms of getting the ball there or hitting them in other areas. We’ve got to provide a good set-piece, the line-out and scrum has to function and the back-row guys have got to get over the gain line to free up the space. Everyone has a big role to play in our attacking system, even if the focus is understandably on our back three with the talent they have.”

Keen to show his side’s true worth following a 30-3 loss at Leicester in their last outing, the Falcons academy graduate said: “We spoke a lot in last week’s review about how frustrated we get because we’re very inconsistent, and we need to take the next step.

“We have games where we look fantastic like Northampton at home, where we’re scoring tries for fun against a good side, and even on the road at Gloucester and Northampton. We’ve had some great days but we have a tendency to let our foot off the gas, and when you look at the best sides they perform every week. We need that steadiness, and when we get it we’ll really push up the table.

“It can only be a mental thing, because we’ve shown we can do it. We can’t come in on a Monday after a win and start patting ourselves on the back. It’s that ability to move quickly on to preparing for the next game rather than believing our own hype, which I think we’ve been a bit guilty of at times. Basically, we’ve got a long way to go, but we’re pleased with the direction we’re going in.

“In terms of this week we’re massively looking forward to it. I love playing at Kingston Park on a Friday night, because I think the best atmospheres are those Friday games under the floodlights. Worcester are a physical team, a hard team to play against, and it will be a really good challenge for us.”

Tickets for Friday’s 8pm kick-off are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or by [**clicking here**.][1]

[1]: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/newcastle-falcons/details/event.aspx?itemref=2951