Centre Chris Harris admitted Newcastle Falcons made hard work of Friday night’s 35-30 triumph over Sale Sharks, but believes silverware could be around the corner if they can iron the creases out of their game.
The Scotland centre was a creative force for a Newcastle side who achieved a four-try bonus point by the half-hour, letting a 25-point lead slip before winning it in the last minute.
Harris joked: “It wasn’t nerve-wracking at all, was it?
“We had a good first half, we were pretty happy with where we were but we just went into our shells at 25-0 for some reason. We’re obviously not pleased about that but we want to kick on as a team, and we somehow found a way to win.
“We can’t afford to allow teams back into a game like that if we want to be a top-four team at the end of the season, and win semi-finals and finals. We need to be a lot better, but it’s nice to say that after a victory.”
Harris added: “Good teams win ugly, but the issue for us is we’ve been winning ugly too much.
“We can try and look at the reasons why we let teams back in, but to be honest this close to the game I’ve got no idea. We’ll analyse it and try to fix it, but there was just a point where we shut up shop and let them back into it. We went into our shell, and I can’t honestly say why. It wasn’t the plan – I know that much.
“That scuffle after Sale’s try where we had our captain sin-binned seemed to give them a gee-up, but it’s no excuse. We let them in too easily, we didn’t start the second half well and from there we were on the back foot. We had to scrape our way back into the game but we dug deep, we put some decent attack together towards the end and gave Bobby Vickers the platform to do what he has done many times from that range.”
Taking a wider view, Harris said: “You can say take the positives, but I’m not the type of guy to do that. I’m wanting to learn how we can finish teams off, why we haven’t been doing it, and that’s just the way I am. I don’t want to be scraping home by three or five points, and we need to kick on.
“We’re progressing well as a team and I think we’re in a good place with regards to the future. We just need to be winning more comfortably than we are, because we’re making it hard work, but we have big games coming up with silverware at stake, and we have everything to play for. If we can tidy a few things up we can get ourselves over to Bilbao, and that’s the sort of stage we want to be playing on.
“It has been a pretty brutal few years for us and our supporters scrapping it out at the wrong end of the table, but now we’re in a fantastic position to turn what is already a good season into a very good season.”