Emerging Fullback impressing with early season performances
An undoubted high point of the Falcons opening three fixtures of the new Premiership season has been fullback Simon Hammersley.
The 21 year old who is in his first full season of training with the Falcons entered the summer pre-season hoping to stake a claim to a starting spot in the Falcons cup squads through playing in the Aviva A League at at National League 1 side Tynedale.
Through a combination of injuries to established names and impressively assured displays in the Premiership Rugby 7s Series and the club’s pre-season programme, Hammersley instead found himself making his Aviva Premiership bow against Leicester Tigers away at Welford Road.
It is an opportunity the affable Yorkshireman is relishing.
“It’s been great to have been given the opportunity to make some premiership starts, particularly as I came into pre-season with a pretty open mind and didn’t have particularly high expectations about featuring in the first team in the early part of the season.”
“I’ve been fortunate in that a few injuries have allowed me to have a go and it’s been great so far.”
“Before the first outing I was pretty nervous my for first outing, which you’d expect, but then when I got my first start against Rotherham I started to feel a bit more at ease and that has grown as the games have gone on.”
Making his league debut at one of the toughest away grounds in the league, the former Durham University captain showed no signs of being overawed and turned in the first of three eye catching performances, however he admits there have been some nerves ahead of the games.
“Premiership rugby is a massive step up from anything I have done before, so there was understandably a few nerves before running out at Welford Road, but I’m a person who keep things to myself and doesn’t like to get to riled up before a game, so I’ve managed to keep myself under control.”
“Getting focused on my role and the job I have to do is especially important to be able to do this at full back if you go on not quite settled and the opposition decide to pepper you with high balls then you are going to be in for a pretty long day.”
As an inexperience fullback, Hammersely fully expected that to be a tactic employed by the Falcons opposition so far, and as a result, has been prepared for when it arrives in a game.
You know the highball is coming in the games so it’s something you can prepare for and practice how you are going to deal with. You can also practice the ways you are going to be tested and then you can go into a game trusting your preparations will allow you to do a good job.”
“It also helps though, that we have a high calibre of player around me who are able to help me out on the field when needed.”
With Sunday’s defeat to Northampton already analysed and this weekend’s trip to Wasps in the forefront of the team’s mind, Hammersley is sure that the Falcons head into this weekend’s game well prepared.
“We were taught a few harsh lessons in the first half on Sunday, but we have got back into training, reviewed it, and we’ve moved on.
We’ll be going up against a Wasps side that play an exciting brand of rugby with some great players and we’ll be going down there to play as well so hopefully it will be exciting.