Michael Young says Newcastle Falcons are working hard to shed their slow-starters tag as they prepare for Friday’s Greene King IPA Championship trip to Nottingham.
The unbeaten league leaders have had to battle through a number of tight first halves during their 15-game winning streak before pulling away in the final 40, the scrum-half insisting it is not a deliberate policy.
“It’s never our intention to start a game slowly then pull away in the second half, but that’s the way it has happened in certain matches,” said Young, whose side led 12-10 on Sunday at Yorkshire Carnegie before adding 24 unanswered points during the second half.
“Rugby is a game played with emotion, and we’re aware we have a big target on our heads this season.
“Some opposition teams set off at a level that they maybe can’t sustain, but our mind-set is always to build a score. We don’t want to wait until later on to score our points, and Friday is a chance for us to show people we can do it earlier on in games.”
Having to deal with a five-day turnaround and travelling to the East Midlands, the man with 165 Falcons appearances to his name insists such factors should not detract from their ability to continue their winning start to the campaign.
“It’s a short turnaround but nobody will be using that as an excuse, because it hasn’t actually changed that much in terms of what we’re doing in training,” he said.
“The emphasis is on the players making sure they go about their recovery and preparation in a really professional way, as I’m sure they will do, and as much as anything it’s about getting our mental approach right.
“Nottingham have a good record at home and they’re a good outfit there, so we need to make sure we do the right things. We’re definitely not taking it lightly, and things like the pitch or the set-up there won’t come into it.
“A pitch is a pitch, we all started out at local rugby clubs on a certain type of field, and playing at a venue without big grandstands isn’t alien to us. It’s not something we will allow to affect us, and it’s just a case of doing the right things to make sure we’re professional on the night.”
Reflecting on last weekend’s triumph at Headingley, Young said: “They’re all important wins regardless who we’re playing against, and we got the five points we wanted.
“It wasn’t great in the first half, Yorkshire turned up with a really physical game and a lot of niggle, and we almost had too many opportunities in front of us. It was a case of trying to pick the best one, and we got a bit stuck with that decision-making process.
“We’re in a very good place, though, being nine points clear and with a lot of games still left to build on that. There are no signs of complacency creeping in, our mind-set and attitude are really good and we just want to kick on.
“We just need to keep it simple and be accurate in what we’re doing, and if we keep hold of the ball through phases we’ll break teams down in this league. It’s about trying to do the basics well time and time again, and if we can crack that then we’re in a great position.”