Defence coach Graham Steadman insists his Newcastle Falcons outfit are in fine fettle ahead of this weekend’s RFU Championship clash at Plymouth Albion (kick-off 3pm).
Steadman, who made the switch to the Falcons last summer after four years in the Scotland set-up, is satisfied with the Falcons rear-guard action this campaign.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Steadman said: “We are the meanest defence in most leagues throughout Europe, not just in England so we are certainly doing things well.
“The most pleasing thing for me as a defence coach is that the players have bought into what I am trying to do, and they are really working hard for each other.”
And the Knottingley-born coach is delighted with the Falcons’ character in adversity, particularly in the last few weeks when it has been backs to the wall time.
On the verge of suffering their first defeat of the season at home to Bedford Blues last month, Dean Richards’ men ensured that their 100% record remained intact thanks to a Noah Cato try at the death.
Steadman admits it was too close for comfort, adding:
“Bedford deserved to win that game, but we managed to find a winning way, and there was nothing more pleasing that evening than the character and belief shown by the boys.
“We are in a good position at the moment – we have a healthy squad albeit with one or two minor injuries, and I am very much looking forward to the business end of the season.”
Meanwhile, earlier this week the club announced the signing of experienced Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair for the 2013-14 season, a player that Steadman knows all too well from his time in the Scotland fold.
The Yorkshireman has backed the move, saying: “Mike [Blair] is a quality player and I was fortunate enough to work with Mike at Scotland for the best part of the four years I was there.
“He is a very knowledgeable player – he doesn’t say much but when he does he can hold the dressing room and he is a great acquisition for the club.
“I think the Newcastle supporters will enjoy his style of play because he is very creative around the first three channels and he has a great awareness of space and a great temperament.”
You can follow all the action from Plymouth via our match day Twitter service. Joel Hodgson will be the man pressing the buttons.