Dave Ward knows Harlequins cannot afford a moment’s lapse in concentration up against a relentless Newcastle Falcons – but claims his side are ready to go toe-to-toe at Kingston Park.
Quins are on something of a hot streak in the Aviva Premiership, their third straight win coming in a 27-19 victory over Gloucester Rugby last week.
And the Falcons will be looking to keep a run of their own going at Kingston Park, having won their last two games at home in all tournaments.
But though hooker Ward is expecting the Falcons to bring a feisty challenge when the two sides clash on Sunday, he insists all signs in training this week have pointed to another fine Harlequins display.
“Newcastle’s work rate is right is second to none in the Premiership, there’s no doubt about that,” said Ward. “We can see that from the videos and they’ve got big, strong ball carriers with the likes of Mark Wilson and their captain Will Welch.
“We’re ready for a real scrap but we aim to go up there and do what we’ve done in training – not slipping up the tackles, keeping hold of the ball.
“Whether we score tries or get there through penalties we’ll take them as they come – as long as we can get the win.
“We have come into hard games at the start of the season and we knew it was going to be a tough period.
“Now the results have come but we are still not where we want to be over the whole 80 minutes.
“But we have started to the little things that count, because it’s the small margins that make a difference, tiny bits of inaccuracy.”
The last time Falcons overcame Quins at home in a Premiership fixture in November 2006, current director of rugby Dean Richards was in charge at the London club.
And Falcons scrum-half Warren Fury is aiming to keep the record going after claiming his side have learned from two stern tests on the road at Northampton Saints and Saracens.
“It’s been great this week,” he said. “The boys are positive, we’re all in good spirits and looking forward to the challenge of Harlequins and getting back right into playing after the Northampton game.
“Every game is tough home and away but these last two games I think it’s been ideal to test ourselves at some of the hardest places to go.
“We definitely put in a great shift which is down to all the hard work with the coaches and it was a big improvement from the Saracens game.
“We’ve been creating opportunities and you’ve got to turn them into points, but as long as they’re being created we don’t need to worry too much.”
Referee: Andrew Small (94th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank & Ashley Rowden. TMO: Graham Hughes.