Ally Hogg is confident Newcastle Falcons will be ready to tackle the new Aviva Premiership season.
The former Scotland international reports that preparations have been going well.
Newcastle start their Premiership campaign on September 6 when they tackle Bath at Kingston Park.
“Obviously we had a shorter pre-season this year because the Championship went on a lot longer [finishing on May 29] but the boys are training really hard and are looking good,” Hogg said.
The number eight expressed his excitement on Newcastle’s return to the Premiership and stated that he was looking forward to “trying to play rugby again rather than lift weights”.
The Falcons have introduced several new faces this year, perhaps most notably former Scotland international scrum-half Mike Blair.
“Mike’s a great player and he knows a fair few of the Scotland boys. He’s fitted in well and he’ll be important for us this year,” Hogg said.
Newcastle are no strangers to Bath, having already faced the west country outfit in a pre-season friendly in France which ended in a 21-21 draw.
“Obviously it was our first game, so it was all about getting our systems in place, and what we want to do and how we want to play rather than who the opposition was,” Hogg said.
The team certainly seem ready for the return to the Premiership after last year’s Championship success, and Hogg is relishing the opportunity to take on the likes of Saracens and Leicester.
“Obviously they’ll be tough, they’re quality teams, but anyone coming up here on a windy, horrible night is going to find it tough and we’ll use that to our advantage,” Hogg added. “What we want is to just stay up, and after that to just finish as high as we can.”