Newcastle Falcons are enjoying their best season in over a decade and lock Will Witty believes a top-six finish is within their sights after they produced a stellar performance to see off Northampton Saints at the weekend.
Northampton led 24-15 at the break, but a hat-trick from scrum-half Sonatane Takulua helped the hosts roar back and record a famous 46-31 win.
The result moves Dean Richards’ side up to seventh in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, just one point off sixth-placed Harlequins.
This weekend they face a tricky trip to tackle high-flying Exeter Chiefs but, with two wins from their last three games, confidence is high as they prepare to meet last season’s runners-up.
And Witty admits they are just trying to secure as many points as possible at this stage of the season as they creep closer to the top half of the table.
“There is a definite improvement this year to last year and we always talk about aiming for the top six and we think it is very achievable,” he said.
“We have had some great games but there are a couple that we have let slip.
“The points difference between the sides in the middle is tiny and if we had taken those chances and won those points, which you have to when you get that opportunity, then we would be up there already.
“That is what we are aiming for. We are fully focussed on the league now that the Anglo-Welsh and European stuff is coming to an end.
“It has been our focus all year really and that is all we have left, so for us it is all about getting as many points as we can now.”
Sunday’s victory was doubly special for Falcons fans as they got to see star winger Sinoti Sinoti return after three months out injured.
The Samoan international marked his return with a fine display, as he gained 139 metres and beat 12 defenders.
And Witty, who himself is out with an arm injury, admits it is great to have the 31-year-old fit and firing after a frustrating lay-off.
“He is a great player and he is very powerful. It is always great to have him on the pitch. We have a lot of depth in our squad this year, and the best players don’t always get a game,” he added.
“But to have him back is big and hopefully he can work his magic. All the lads who are injured all want to get back playing as quickly as possible.
“Sinoti was no different, especially as his was long-term. You just have to get your head down and crack on with the rehab and try and get out there as quickly as possible.”