England flanker Mark Wilson is ready to fly straight back into club action with Newcastle Falcons this Saturday when they play at St James’ Park.
Sale Sharks are the Gallagher Premiership opponents in a 5.30pm kick-off which has been dubbed ‘The Big One’, Wilson keen to run out at the home of Newcastle United as the Falcons pursue their third straight victory.
“I’m back with the lads, which I’m really excited about,” said the Cumbrian, who played in all five of England’s games during the Guinness Six Nations.
“There’s a great buzz around the club, everyone is really positive and the atmosphere is just one of excitement rather than anything else. As expected I’ve been getting a bit of grief from the lads, the usual dodgy chat, but it’s all good fun and I’m just enjoying being back in the mix.
“I’m desperate to add to the team in any way I can but they’ve won their last two without me, and I’ve been following the games as much as I can while I’ve been away.
“I’ve seen all the matches on video and kept in touch with the club, the feedback around the last couple in particular has been really positive and it’s great to see the boys doing well again. We’re back on the up and we need to keep it going.”
Keen to run out in the Magpies’ nest after missing last season’s game there through injury, Wilson said: “My wife Amy’s family are big Toon fans and they come here a lot, and I’ve been here plenty of times myself even though I follow Liverpool.
“I travelled over quite a few times from Kendal when I was growing up because my best mate is a big Newcastle fan, and I can tell you he’s really jealous about the fact that I could be playing on the hallowed turf!
“It’s a great stadium, it’s always a brilliant atmosphere every single time I’ve been here for the football, and again for the rugby. I was here watching the Falcons’ game against Northampton last year with being injured, and I also came during Rugby World Cup 2015. You do get a hell of a noise going here and I know a lot of the players are excited by that.”
Last season’s game at St James’ Park was played in front of a club record attendance of 30,174, the iconic moment coming when Premiership Player of the Season Vereniki Goneva celebrated his try at the Leazes End with an Alan Shearer salute.
“I’m not sure if any of the lads have got anything planned like last year, with Niki doing the Shearer,” said Wilson.
“I’d love to think I’ve got the Tino Asprilla cartwheel in my locker, but I’m kidding myself there!”
Well aware of the stakes on Saturday with Newcastle three points behind Worcester Warriors at the foot of the Gallagher Premiership, the flanker said: “There are six games left and plenty of points to play for.
“Yeah, we’re in a different position to last season when we came to St James’ Park challenging for the top four, but it’s all about wanting to win the game, so nothing has changed from that perspective. If we can entertain people at the same time then that’s ideal, but the win is the most important thing.
“If it’s a boring 3-0 win but we get the four points, then, being totally brutal about it, we’d take that at the moment. As players the only thing we’re focused on is winning.
“The commercial and marketing team at the club have done their best to make it a great occasion and to get as many people inside the stadium as possible, and in an ideal world hopefully those guys will get a game which befits that spectacle. That said, the win is the only thing we’re talking about from the playing and coaching side, which is the way it has to be.
“Sale have a lot of exciting attacking players, as do we, so in that sense it has all the makings of a decent game.
"If last year is anything to go by there’ll be a carnival atmosphere and a load of noise from the stands, and it should be a great day.
"I wasn’t lucky enough to play last year but I was there watching, and just to be part of the whole buzz was fantastic.”
Tickets for The Big One are available by clicking here.