Connon: Falcons' ship staying on an even keel

Thursday 27 February 2020

Brett Connon says Newcastle Falcons are keeping their ship on an even keel despite having won all of their last 20 matches going into Saturday’s trip to Jersey.

The Championship leaders are 13 from 13 in the league and through to the semi-finals of the cup, but the fly-half insists the mood in the camp is not markedly different to last season.

“We’ve always been pretty good at keeping a positive atmosphere around the club – even last season when we were in a relegation battle,” said Connon, who has scored 39 points in his eight games this term.

“Obviously it’s nice to win every week but the general feeling hasn’t been too much different, because, as I say, there’s always been a great bond among the players.

“The one target for this season was to get promoted back into the Premiership, and we’re on track to do that. We’re not there yet, though. Nobody is taking anything for granted, and we know there’s a lot of hard work still to be done to make sure we get there.”

Up against a Reds side who have lost only twice at home in the league this season, Connon said: “Jersey are known for having a good pack, and with the weather forecast being the way it is this weekend there will obviously be a big emphasis on that area.

“They’ll know how to play the conditions at their own ground, but it’s a case of us sticking to what we do best and just being professional about the whole thing.

“From my perspective if I was selected I’d just keep things simple – let the big boys carry the ball and hopefully get to do a little bit more later on in the game when people get tired.”

Featuring more prominently since Christmas, the former Ireland Under-20s international has been relishing his run in the side.

“I’ve really enjoyed the last month or two, with getting a bit more of a run in the side,” said Connon, the Carlisle native who came through the Falcons’ academy.

“It took me a little while to get my foot in the door but I enjoyed my start against Ampthill at home, and it’s been a case of trying to build from there.

“Like any player I want to be playing first-team rugby, but with the likes of Joel Hodgson, Toby Flood and some of the boys coming through it’s a really competitive area of the squad.

“It’s on us to really push each other and keep on driving the standards, but I’ve managed to get a bit of a go in the side lately and have been buzzing from the whole experience.”

Having already visited the Channel Islands once this season, the 23-year-old said: “I went over to Jersey for the cup game at the start of the season and got ten minutes from the bench right at the end.

“It’s a lovely setting and the weather was beautiful on that occasion – although the forecast looks a bit different this time round!

“We’ve played them a couple of times at home since then so we’re pretty familiar with what each other does, and although we’ve enjoyed some good wins against Jersey I think the score-lines have probably flattered us a bit.

“They’re definitely a good side, and London Irish lost over there last season, so from our perspective it’s just about being professional and keeping our heads down to get the job done.”

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