Tom Catterick says finals day will be a major step up from the qualifier as his Newcastle Falcons squad heads to Coventry for Sunday’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s showpiece.
A Premiership 7s winner with Newcastle back in 2011, Catterick was part of the Falcons squad who won their group during Saturday’s home tournament at Kingston Park Stadium. Turning their impressive group form into success on the national stage has not always proven easy, as the player himself admits.
He said: “The finals over the years have been different from the qualifiers, for a few reasons. Firstly, because squads can change a lot. Injuries, first-team call-ups and things like that can sometimes mean a totally different squad going down to the finals.
“Stability is a big asset if you can keep largely the same group, and then the other obvious difference is you are playing against better teams. You are meeting the sides who have won or been runners-up in their groups, the standard is higher and the intensity of the games reflects that.”
Newcastle will meet Welsh side Ospreys in the quarter-finals at the Ricoh Arena, Catterick saying his squad will approach the match with clear heads after a far-from-perfect showing last weekend.
He said: “We certainly won’t go down to Coventry with any cockiness because the qualifier brought a few reality checks for the lads. In the first game against Sale we went 12-0 down, and then we went and lost our next game against Worcester. We said in the changing room after the match that it just wasn’t acceptable, and we did see a bit of a pick-up in our last match against Leicester.
“To drop like that once you could pass off as a blip, but to do it twice on the same day wasn’t up to the standards we have set for ourselves. We feel we are a very good sevens team and we should be winning these games, but the ego has been dented a bit and we know how hard we have to work to achieve our ambitions.
“We will definitely have to improve if we want to win the finals. It was partly our experience that got us through, and partly the fact that we just never gave up. We are known as a team who keep going for each other, we never stop playing and we have an intensity which can win us tight games.
“We made hard work of our qualifier but we kept at it, and finals day is a fresh start. Having people who have played a bit, like Joel Hodgson, Dan Temm and myself, definitely makes it easier. Not physically easier, but just in terms of that little bit of experience.”
Tickets for Sunday’s Singha 7s finals are priced £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. To book go to www.wasps.co.uk/tickets .