Young sets a high bar for improving Falcons
Going into Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Harlequins the Falcons sit fifth in the table, winning 10 of their last 12 games in all competitions and having reached the knock-out rounds in both cups.
“It’s all a bit new to us in terms of being fifth in the league after 15 rounds, and it’s a different kind of pressure,” said Young.
“It’s trying to succeed rather than trying not to fail, and the magnitude of our next two games is huge in terms of mapping out the direction we can go in.
“The teams who are regularly at the top of the competition are there because they’re mentally switched on all the time. There are similar levels of ability among the top few sides but that mental consistency is the difference when you get down to it, and we need to be on the money in that department.
“You have to credit the boys for the phenomenal leaps we’ve made in the last year and a bit, but if we don’t kick on this season it’s just words.
“We need to win one of these cups, get into the Champions Cup and aim for a Premiership semi-final. Those are the sorts of heights we want to be hitting but we’ll only get there by keeping our feet on the ground, focusing on each individual game and putting in the hard work.”
Captaining the side over the past fortnight in the absence of Will Welch and Mark Wilson, the England Saxons cap joked: “I was the only one left, I think!
“No, all joking aside it was a great honour to be asked to captain the team, it’s something I’d never done before and with Wils and Welchy both out injured it was great that they asked me. Having the likes of Toby Flood and Ally Hogg either side of me was a huge help, but it’s something I enjoyed.
“Getting that opportunity was awesome, and with my scrum-half hat on it was a chance to be able to talk to the referee a bit more. It was definitely a change and I probably never fully appreciated the extra bits that go with it, so I think I’ve got more of an appreciation now for how well Welchy does the role on a regular basis.”
Keen to rein in the growing hype surrounding the Falcons’ improved fortunes on the field, Young added: “We’re getting a bit of credit externally for where we are in the league, but if you go in the dressing room and speak to the boys I don’t think we were too happy with last week’s game against Bath.
“We got the five points and it was comfortable in the end, but we didn’t kick on to the performance levels we know we’re capable of. Our accuracy and execution wasn’t there at times, we’re setting high standards and I think in past seasons we’d be more content with what we produced against Bath.
“It’s all about adding those little bits of detail and accuracy to the things we’re doing during the game. We do it during the week but it’s match-day that counts, and we have to be on the ball against a strong side like Harlequins in terms of knowing our roles and dictating the play.
“We’ve shown we’ve got the ability, we’ve just got to go away to Quins and be business-like in terms of getting the result. They’re a different animal at home, they play from everywhere but it’s about what we do rather than overly concerning ourselves with them.”