Sean Robinson insists there is a growing belief at Newcastle Falcons this season as they continue to hunt a top six finish in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
The Falcons twice struck late to beat fourth-placed Bath Rugby 24-22 at Kingston Park last week and now sit just four points behind fifth-placed Leicester Tigers in a congested mid-table.
The win against Bath was Newcastle’s sixth in the league and now they turn their attention back to Europe – with European Challenge Cup games against Grenoble and Ospreys on the horizon.
And forward Robinson says confidence is flowing through the squad as they look to carry over their momentum into Europe.
“The boys are delighted, especially with the way we won as well – we showed great character and in previous years we would not have had that result,” the lock said.
Plenty to celebrate… pic.twitter.com/TVuboujFY9
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) January 7, 2017
“To come back and the victory, we were quite composed in those last 20 minutes and stuck to our game plan.
“There is a lot more confidence around the place this season and some early wins helped with that – it is really starting to flow.
“There is a bit more belief now and we think we can win games against the bigger teams – and we are showing that we can do it.
“We are all excited with the direction we are heading. We are four points off fifth and that is what we need to start doing now, chasing those teams above us.
“When we sat down at the beginning of the season we said we wanted to push for the top six and that may have been a bit ambitious at the time but as a group we know we have the quality and depth to do that.”
Newcastle sit third in Pool 2 of the European Challenge Cup, one point off Lyon Olympique and ten off table-toppers Ospreys – making Friday night’s match a must-win if they are going to progress.
“French sides are always very difficult to beat in France and we need to be very switched on – especially in those first 20 minutes,” he added.
“We are going to have to really set the tone early doors and match their physicality, their aggression levels – which they will certainly bring.
“So there is pressure on us to bring the right approach and the mental side will be key I think.
“If we are going to be realistic about our chances of progressing, which is what we want to do, then we have got to win these last two games – and win them well.
“This is a huge game and we have to deliver now or we are out of the competition.”
Deano: “It is a little bit noisier in the changing room and the boys are up for a bit of a party. Good luck to them.”
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) January 6, 2017
Robinson has just returned from an injury-hit four months and says he is determined to make a difference in the second half of the campaign and help the club push forward on three fronts.
“It has been a frustrating start to the season but the medical guys have been great with me and have got me back in good shape,” he said.
“I am excited to be back now and with the progress the club has been making. You miss rugby a lot when you are injured so I am throwing myself in there.
“I am possibly a bit fresher than some of the boys who have played a lot of rugby already this season and I know we have a couple of guys who are on the way back and want to add a bit more energy into the second half of the campaign.”