Fly-half Toby Flood hopes Newcastle Falcons can continue their climb up the Gallagher Premiership table as they prepare for Friday’s visit of league leaders Exeter Chiefs.
The 7.45pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium comes just six days after the Falcons recorded a 23-20 triumph at Worcester for their first victory of the season, Flood kicking five from five during the Sixways triumph.
He said: “It was a tick in the box that we made a couple of early line-breaks and converted them into tries, but it was far from perfect as a performance.
“We didn’t play very much – when we did I thought we were okay – but it was all about winning one of those tight games. Last season we won four or five of those which contributed in a big way to how well we finished, and it does make a big difference if you can be on the right end of a few like that.
“We hadn’t won at Worcester for something like five years so it was nice to put that record to bed, even if the performance was a bit sketchy.”
He added: “When we had the ball in the right areas we played the right sort of rugby, but because we’d spoken about winning the territorial battle I think we occasionally shut ourselves down to opportunities which were maybe out there.
“There’s that risk/reward dichotomy in rugby and we probably edged too much the way of caution, which meant we maybe left two or three tries out there. Had we arrived at Worcester with three or four wins behind us then perhaps we’d have gone for it a bit more, and I do accept some of that comes down to me.”
Part of a Falcons side who were regarded by many as the Premiership’s surprise package last term, Flood said: “This team in the last two seasons has climbed from eleventh to eighth and then fourth, but the club has come from a culture whereby they’ve been thinking ‘we don’t want to be in another relegation battle’.
“Those dogfights are really disgusting things to be involved in but we’re off the mark now in terms of wins, and I think that’s psychologically important for us.”
Enjoying his rugby at his home town club, he added: “Gone are the days of being a massive worrier, so I’m just trying to play with a smile on my face and having a bit of a chat with the opposition during the game.
“I’ll still sulk at times because that’s just the way I am, but it’s 15 blokes trying to whack 15 other blokes, and you can do that with a bit of enjoyment. Yeah it’s a serious sport and the consequences of not performing are very real, but you can still go out there and enjoy it. We have a good bunch of boys and we work really hard, and it’s a positive environment to be in.”
Turning his attention to Friday’s visitors, Flood said: “Exeter are an interesting side, and their record speaks for itself.
“They seem to have three ways of playing – the all-court-running game, the round-the-corner forwards game and then a bit of a hybrid of the two.
“It will obviously be a big test on Friday but it’s a game we’re all looking forward to, especially with that first win now on the board.”
Tickets for Friday’s match are available by clicking here.