After an unbeaten pre-season and a win in their Aviva Premiership Rugby opener against Sale Sharks – optimism was everywhere at Newcastle Falcons.
But they were brought back down to earth with a bump by Bath Rugby last weekend at the Rec and Falcons No.8 Mark Wilson admits his side learned a valuable lesson.
Todd Blackadder’s Bath side ran in eight tries in a record 58-5 win in the West Country as Dean Richards’ side were caught out early and often.
But Wilson – who has started both games for the Falcons at No.8 – is taking the positives from such a chastening experience early in the season.
“We had a really good start against Sale but last week was one of those where we have to park it as soon as we can,” he said.
“We did not turn up physically or mentally and that is what happens if you take a team lightly because the Premiership is so competitive, you are going to get punished.
“We are going to replicate the performance we had against Sale this weekend and show the right kind of attitude and I think we will be fine.
“There are no major changes we need to do, it is just a case of making sure the boys have that individual responsibility to prepare mentally and actually turn up on the day and have some pride in the shirt.
“I think maybe a little bit of complacency crept in because of how well the week before went. We just showed up. Bath is a tough place to go, just like anywhere in this Aviva Premiership, and you have got to be on your money especially away from home but it is a lesson we have learnt, a harsh lesson.
“It has probably happened at the best time of the season because now we know when we do go away to these teams we have to prepare properly.”
After victory over the Sharks on the first weekend at Kingston Park – next up are Leicester Tigers on Sunday live on BT Sport.
Vereniki Goneva – signed from the Tigers this summer – will be keen to make an impression for the Falcons but Wilson insists his side will need to get the basics right first before their winger can run riot.
“The boys are excited for Leicester. Regardless of what happened last week it is Leicester at home. It is one of the best teams in the league. It is what every professional player gets excited about, especially on our home pitch,” he added.
“We are certainly a more confident side so we are looking forward to it and ready to play.
“They have not had the start they wanted either but they do simple things very well. We are not going to change our game plan massively. We have to go with the right attitude, knowing they are a physical side and ready to compete at the set-piece.
“I think in all these Premiership games this season, the set-piece is so important and it gives us the platform for us to get into our game so it is something we will work hard on this week and make sure is right.”