Newcastle Falcons fear nobody : Vickers

Fresh from making his England Saxons debut last Sunday, Falcons hooker Rob Vickers returns to club duty this weekend as his Newcastle side travels to Northampton in Guinness Premiership action.

The 28-year-old was rewarded for his outstanding club form by a call-up to England’s second string, as they defeated Italy A 31-5 in Treviso.

But the Yorkshireman insisted it was club matters at the forefront of his mind, as he readies himself for a keenly-awaited trip to Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

“I’ll take it as a good experience to have been involved with, hopefully I can continue that over the summer but first and foremost is my club rugby here at Newcastle,” said the front rower.

“Overall I think it went pretty well, despite the fact that we probably played to the Italians’ strengths a little in the first half. I managed to sneak on to the pitch for a bit of a cameo at the end, and whilst I would obviously have liked to have played for longer I appreciate it’s part of my development and a step in the right direction.

“It’s important to stay grounded and focus on the important work going on at the club right now though, because that’s where your professionalism comes in. We believe the Falcons are heading in the right direction at the moment, and the main thing for me is just to work hard and help that process rather than thinking about future tours or anything like that.

“We’ve laid a bit of a foundation now with being in the top half of the Guinness Premiership and winning our European group, so we need to kick on now and make the most of that opportunity.

“There’s no time to dwell on what happened last weekend, it’s straight back into action with Newcastle and that’s the way it should be. We have an important game this Saturday away at a very strong team in Northampton, we need to prepare properly and so that’s where our energies are being directed.”

Asked what he expected from the in-form Saints, Vickers said: “Northampton are one of the more expansive teams in the league, they will have a bit of confidence about them at the moment but we had a good result down there ourselves last season in securing the bonus point victory.

“There’s no reason why we can’t do the same this year. We know it will be a great challenge, but we fear nobody.

“They are a very powerful pack, but when you look around the squad at the Falcons you wouldn’t say they have anything that we don’t have. Obviously we’ve got a lot of respect for them and they are undoubtedly a strong side, but we’re backing ourselves right now and taking a lot of confidence into the game.”

Having seen himself restricted to bench duty in Cup action earlier this month before his Saxons call-up, Vickers was at pains to point out the team ethic, saying: “I’m sure all players will tell you that they want to be starting games every week, but you have to understand the position of the coaches and what they want to do with the squad.

“We have other hookers at the club like Alex Walker who have come in and given good accounts of themselves when they have been given a chance in recent weeks, that makes a healthy battle for the starting shirt and ultimately should benefit the club in the long run.

“Naturally it’s frustrating not to start, I’m sure that’s the way the coaches would want you to feel and ultimately you just have to respect their decision. There’s no point in moping around when you’re not starting, you have to support whoever is in the shirt, get behind them and help the team in whichever way possible.”

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