Alex Tait is well aware of the threat which lies in wait at Harlequins on Saturday, insisting his Newcastle Falcons side can rise to the challenge.
The Falcons have won their last two games with Harlequins, Tait saying they travel to the Twickenham Stoop with spirits in tact despite Sunday’s 34-20 loss to in-form Wasps.
The full-back said: “Quins at home are a deadly beast and we are under no illusions about the fact they have their Six Nations boys back. We have got to be on our game, and I truly believe if we can get that collective accuracy, physicality and concentration we can give any team a good run for their money.
“We have had a great training week, it has been short and sharp and hopefully we can crack Quins on the back of that. Quins will be fully locked and loaded, and we have to match that.”
Aiming to kick on from last week’s blow, he added: “We played well against Wasps in patches and were massively disappointed – especially to give away that try at the end. That took our bonus point away at a time when we know every point is needed, but on the wider point we were disappointed with the way we were passive in defence. In attack we missed a couple of opportunities, and while they might not have won us the game they would certainly have put us in a much better position to get a bonus point or a draw.
“Harlequins are very similar to Wasps when you look at the kind of firepower they can put out. They have a good back three, nippy nine and our defence has to be massive around that ruck area. Ben Botica has good feet, Jamie Roberts runs hard lines, they have pace out wide and we need to be on it.
“But if we can get on top of them and put them under pressure in defence, they might not necessarily be the best defensive side in dealing with what we throw at them. That defensive intensity has been a big focus during the week, and we know we have to raise it.”
Well aware of the stakes with the Falcons currently 11th in the Aviva Premiership table, Tait said: “It is the business end now with four games left. We have to treat every game like a cup final but I don’t think we are necessarily feeling the pressure.
“We have just got to focus on this weekend, try and get our first away win for a long time and take care of the processes needed to do that. Everyone’s spirits are high here, the mood is great and we just need to crack on like that. We have just got to be spot-on all the way through, and when we do that we can be a real handful for teams.”