Calum Green says Newcastle Falcons are giving short shrift to the growing hype which surrounds their flying start to the new Aviva Premiership season as they prepare to host London Irish on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).
Following last weekend’s thrilling 33-32 victory at Bath last weekend the Falcons are sat fourth in the table, tied on points with the second-placed team and in with a chance of going top if they defeat the Exiles.
Increased national media interest has accompanied their surge up the standings, but pragmatist Green isn’t getting carried away by a few plaudits.
“It has been a good start but we’re only four games into a 22-game season,” said the ever-present lock-forward, who leads the Premiership for line-out steals.
“You can tell we’re doing well because all of a sudden a lot of cameras and journalists are turning up for our press conferences, and TV stations are sniffing around. That’s all good for the profile of the club and everything but the key for us is not getting ahead of ourselves. We’re not getting ideas above our station, it’s still very early days and if we were to lose our next couple of matches we’re right back down where we were. We need to keep on driving the performance, keep on winning and hopefully on Friday we can do that.
“The thing I’ve really noticed from being out and about in the area is that more people in the region are talking about us. That comes naturally when you start winning games, but I’m hearing more guys out in the local community talking about coming to the games, commenting on how well we’re doing, and that’s what you want to see. It can only be a good thing, and there’s a winning culture here now which is really helping to grow more of an awareness about the Falcons.
“You’ve got people like Dean Richards and John Wells who are used to a winning mentality at Leicester, Dave Walder who wons cups with Newcastle and Premierships and Heineken Cups with Wasps, and they know the ins and outs of how you do it.”
Crediting the team spirit in the Falcons’ ranks after their time together in America, Green said: “Philadelphia was a good week, barring the result. We had a lot of time together, we got to know each other a little better and even though the game didn’t go our way against a good Saracens side I think we did OK in parts. The bonding aspect of the week was good and I think that probably showed down at Bath last week with the way the boys battled.
“We flew down on the day which helped maximise our preparation time at the club during the week, and we flew out of the blocks going 19-0 up. We know we’re a good side but it maybe even caught us by surprise, and we had that lapse during the middle of the game. A couple of years ago we’d have probably gone on to get a spanking in that scenario but it shows the character within the group to do what we did at a place like Bath.
“It was a weird atmosphere at the end of the game because the Rec was stone-dead quiet apart from the Falcons fans who had made the trip, but the changing room was a pretty noisy one. I think a lot of that was purely the sense of relief at having pulled it back, but the buzz was great and everyone was happy.
“The thing for us now is not to rest on our laurels just because we’ve won a few games, and there were no great celebrations on the way back from Bath. We were back in on Monday morning just looking to do a professional job against London Irish.”
Expecting a tough test against an Exiles side who are back in the top flight after securing promotion last season, Green said: “Irish have got a strong squad with a lot of Premiership experience, and this league is getting more and more competitive each year. It’s getting quicker, guys are getting stronger and faster but Irish showed by beating Harlequins in round one that they’re here to compete with the big boys. It’ll definitely be a tough game.
“From a forwards’ point of view they have guys like Ben Franks who is a World Cup winner with New Zealand, Petrus du Plessis who has won trophies with Saracens, Ofisa Treviranus who carries well in the back row and we’ve identified a number of threats within their ranks. We know that to beat them we need to be at our best, and there has been a big focus on how we can do that.”
Tickets for Friday’s 7.45pm kick-off are available by calling 0871 226 6060, clicking here or from Kingston Park Stadium in person.