Newcastle Falcons 7s skipper Dan Temm admitted his side still have plenty of work to do if they are to be crowned Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series champions next weekend, despite making it through their group on Saturday.
Mark Laycock’s side hosted Group D of the competition at Kingston Park, and topped the standings for the third year on the bounce to progress to the Series Final at the Ricoh Arena next Sunday.
A loss to Worcester Warriors was sandwiched by victories over Sale Sharks – who also progressed to the Coventry showcase – and Leicester Tigers in front of cheering crowd of Newcastle fans.
But Temm was not satisfied that Falcons had hit their usual high standards in 7s rugby, having lost for the first time in 16 group matches in the competition.
“It was a real mixed bag, there were a few halves there where we were absolutely on the money and I thought we were really good, but lots of dips in our concentration and times where we were at our worst,” said Temm.
“It was really disappointing to lose the unbeaten record. In that game we did everything we said we weren’t going to do from the first game where we made mistakes.
“That unbeaten record was something we were holding onto and we would have liked to have gone three from three, but that’s rugby at the end of the day.
“Everyone wants to beat everyone and I’m just happy we bounced back in the last game and got the bonus point.”
Needing a win to progress in their final clash of the afternoon, Joel Hodgson’s double and scores from Dan Marshall and Temm himself meant Newcastle went one better.
The bonus-point win guided them to the top of the Group C standings and a quarter-final showdown against Group A runners-up Ospreys.
And with the job done at Kingston Park, Temm is hopeful they can recreate their heroics of 2011 when they won the competition at Twickenham Stoop.
“The Falcons boys went on to win the competition a few years ago when they were probably the underdogs against Saracens in the final, and they still talk about it now,” he said.
“They’ve been telling us all this week about how good a feeling that was and how good the beers were afterwards.
“If we can go down there and do something like that, then that would be great, but it won’t come without hard work.”
Eight teams will play for the first silverware of the season in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals from 2pm at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. Click here for tickets.
Quarter Final 1 – Cardiff Blues v Sale Sharks
Quarter Final 2 – Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints
Quarter Final 3 – Harlequins v Wasps
Quarter Final 4 – Newcastle Falcons v Ospreys