Adam Powell says the emotion of returning to his former club will take second place to the task in hand when Newcastle Falcons travel to Saracens on Sunday.
Powell spent eight seasons in Sarries’ first-team squad having come through their academy, saying: “I wouldn’t say the excitement has worn off, but now I have played against Saracens enough times that I can say there isn’t anything extra on the game.
“I am totally focused on us playing well as a Newcastle team rather than anything personal for myself, and I will leave my little rivalries or whatever on the sidelines.
“It has been three years now since I left Saracens but they have been a massive part of my rugby life. I have a lot of mates there and it is always a big game for me personally, but it is a big one for the club, and that is the main thing.”
The 29-year-old comes in as one of five changes for the Falcons, who have 22 English-qualified players in their match-day 23 and 10 former academy players in their starting XV.
Powell said: “It is going to be a tough game, but that is what you want. That is why we are in the Premiership, why we fought so hard to stay in it and why we want to be moving up the table in the future.
“It is a massive challenge for us, and the focus has to be on us doing what we do as well as we can do it. If we do that then we at least have an opportunity to be in the game, and it is all about maximising the things we can do well.”
The Falcons were 13-6 winners over London Irish in their last outing a fortnight ago, a result which put them seven points clear of the Exiles at the foot of the Aviva Premiership table.
Knowing that victory on Sunday would cement their top-flight status, Powell said: “Until it is all mathematically safe we still need further points, so there is a lot to play for.
“The London Irish game did take a lot of pressure off. It was a huge relief to get the win and it has put us in a very good position, but we still have to finish off the job.
“The atmosphere in the squad has been good. There was obviously a lot riding on the London Irish game and all week we could feel the pressure, even though everyone was trying to play it down. It wasn’t pretty, we knew it was a big game but we got the points we wanted. Now it is just a case of finishing it.
“This is what the Aviva Premiership is all about - you have one big game and then next up you are playing the best team in Europe. That is why we love it.”