Scott MacLeod admits he is enjoying a new lease of life on Tyneside following a year’s stint with Japanese outfit Kobe Steelers where his game time was restricted due to the foreign rule.
Leaving the Land of the Rising Sun to join the Falcons during the summer, Scotland international MacLeod featured in last Friday’s bonus point triumph over Doncaster at Kingston Park.
And the 33-year-old lock forward had a solid outing as the Falcons made it a perfect start to their promotion chasing campaign with a third consecutive bonus point win.
“It’s good to be playing to be fair and in Japan I did play the odd game but with the foreign rule my game time was restricted due to Kobe signing a couple more foreigners last season,” said MacLeod who began his rugby career at the age of 21 after trying his hand at a series of sports.
He added: “It was a bit of a reality check in Japan so coming here has been awesome for me, especially getting coached again by a top-class set-up.
“I know I am getting older now, but I am still eager to learn and better myself and I have always wanted to strive to be better.
“Against Doncaster I would have liked to have carried the ball a little bit more but we made a lot of errors to be fair so it was hard for the front five to get their hands on the ball.
“It was good to get 80 minutes under my belt but we have to be pleased with the bonus point win – we are not pretending that we are the finished article and we have a lot of things to work on, but the most positive thing was that we knuckled down with some good go-forward ball in the last 10 minutes which created the opportunity for us to get the bonus point win.”
Willed on by a partisan Kingston Park crowd, MacLeod and co drove the ball towards the line as Dean Richards’ men went in search of a late try that would seal maximum points.
Sucked towards the line by a passionate South Stand, fly-half Jimmy Gopperth took the initiative to scamper through a hole to touchdown and send the North East faithful into delirium.
MacLeod is delighted with the Falcons’ positive start to life in the RFU Championship and is keen to build on his own display.
MacLeod said: “The lineout went well and we had James Hudson in there who is a great operator when it comes to the set-piece.
“I enjoyed the combination with James and it is great to work with someone as experienced as him in the lineout. The lineout was a challenge to be fair given the conditions and we certainly explored the full repertoire and we also contested against the throw – hopefully we can get a few more starts together and take it from there.”
Chomping at the bit for a start at Cornish Pirates, MacLeod added: “I watched them on TV against Bristol and I thought it was a tight game.
“They are a team who did well last season – they don’t have as big a pack as Doncaster but they will cause us some problems in the scrum.
“It is always going to be hard game going down there and they will be right up for it after their loss at Bristol. With us being relegated everyone wants to get one over on us.
“Without wanting to sound big headed, we are the team to beat in this league and it’s everyone’s cup final when they play us, so we are never going to have an easy game.”
With 24 Scotland caps to his name, MacLeod reveals he would like to think he is approachable for the younger players at the club.
He said: “I would like to think I am approachable for some of the younger lads to ask me questions but at the same time if I saw a young boy doing well and I needed some info off him then I would have no qualms in asking him.
“It works both ways but hopefully I do hope that I have a good professional attitude and work hard, but I like to have a bit of fun as well.”
The Falcons next home game is against Leeds Carnegie on Friday 28 September (kick-off 8pm). Tickets are still available by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.