Vickerman relishing reunion with old club Leeds

Having scored two minutes into his home debut last Friday, Newcastle Falcons centre Rob Vickerman is relishing Sunday’s Guinness Premiership trip to former club Leeds Carnegie.


The Yorkshireman touched down an incredible ten tries in 11 starts during Leeds’ promotion campaign last season, as well as starring in England’s IRB Sevens victories in New Zealand and London.


With injury to Tane Tu’ipulotu seeing him as an early replacement in Friday’s 17-5 win over Edinburgh at Kingston Park, Vickerman said: “I thought it was a great occasion, and for a pre-season friendly it was a fantastic atmosphere with a good crowd in.


“I always find preparing as a replacement really difficult because you never know when you’re going to get on, and while I would never wish an injury on any player, to be brought on for Tane after just ten minutes was a boost for me personally because it meant I got a good run.


“It was a really fun game, there were some good bits of continuity at times but also plenty to work on, so we’ve had a look at the videos ahead of this weekend and we’re ready to go.


“I got a cheeky try early doors, which is always good, but most of the credit has to go to the guys who set up the move and put in the preparation work. My role was a pretty straightforward one really, but it’s nice to get a try so quickly and there were a lot of positives we could take from the game.”


Resisting the urge to sit on the fence when asked if Sunday’s game has added spice, the 23-year-old said: “When the fixture list came out Leeds was the first one I looked for, so to have them away on the opening weekend of the season is really a big way to kick-off.


“It will be like a war down there, I know from speaking to people there that Leeds are up for it, and from the Newcastle standpoint it’s exactly the same.


“Myself and Tom Biggs were both released from the club this summer, we were told we’d been there a while and they wanted to establish a new way of doing things, so if you’re asking me do I have a point to prove to them, the answer is absolutely yes.


“I could trot out the old cliché of ‘it’s just another game’, but I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m out there to make a statement on Sunday. Obviously I’m not going to let that override the team performance and I’ll do my job as outlined by the coaches here, but there’s definitely an edge to this one for me.


“I’ll have a lot of family there supporting me, I used to buy 21 season tickets every year for them, and it’s a match I’m looking forward to because it will be a great test for us against a tough outfit. It’s a game they’ve really targeted to kick their season off with, but it’s the same for us and we’re going in all guns blazing.”


As one of 20 summer arrivals at Kingston Park, Vickerman said: “I’ve been in that position before with Leeds, where you have virtually an entire new squad of players for the coming season, so it’s not something that’s unfamiliar to me.


“It’s important to gel, to know each other and how everyone plays. It’s a massive positive to have such a skilful backline, and it obviously helps if the players are of a high calibre. You can definitely say that of this Newcastle team, and the higher quality players tend to be able to deal with those challenges a lot better.


“We’re taking a lot of confidence with us into the new season, and although we know we have a lot to work on we’ve already identified how we’re going to do that as a group.


“In terms of where we’re going, we look sharp and things are coming together well on the training field and among the lads. We have real ambitions and we’re targeting the top half of the table, we know the Kingston Park factor is going to be vital and we want to use our home form as a real foundation to everything else.


“Realistically we feel we can do well this season, a lot of people here are very passionate abo

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