Andy Saull thinks he might have found a novel way for Newcastle Falcons to use the weather to their advantage, if only he can get it past the referee.
The former Saracens flanker is part of a Newcastle squad who have battled gamely into fierce winds during the Premiership season, but have failed to fill their boots when the gale has been at their backs.
That was again the case at Bath on Saturday as they reached half-time at 3-3, but lost the second half 21-3 despite having the advantage of the elements.
Searching for a way to break out of the pattern, Saull said: “Jokingly, I asked the lads can we not play into the wind for both halves!
“We always seem to perform better when the wind is against us.
“I don’t know if that is just a correlation of the fact we happen to have played into the wind during the first half of games or not, and there was no lack of effort or heart down at Bath. Other than a few individual errors it was 80 minutes of faultless defence.
“Perhaps that volume of defending takes the energy out of you. I don’t know, but we will watch the video and put our fingers on where it went wrong.”
Having no let-up in a schedule which sees them meeting all but one of the top five in successive weeks, the England Saxons open-side said: “Looking at the fixture list we are playing most of the better teams, but our spirits are still high.
“Our fans down at Bath were brilliant, we were geed up by the noise they were making and hopefully that can be the same down at Harlequins on Saturday.
“Much the same as we did at Bath, we will go down there really wanting to have a crack at them, and it is not as if we are not competing.”
Currently second-bottom of the Premiership and with the buffer between themselves and Worcester now reduced to 10 points, he added: “I didn’t feel Bath particularly out-matched us in any area, other than perhaps the scrums towards the end.
“They only had a very small number of guys away on international duty and are third in the league, so you have got to keep it in perspective.
“Hopefully we can carry that form through to when we face the bottom and mid-table teams on harder grounds towards the end of the season, and pick up some points there.”
Convinced that their Recreation Ground loss was not a nail in the coffin, the foraging Falcon suggested there was enough in the Bath game to give them heart ahead of the challenges to come.
“There were huge positives for us to take from it,” Saull insisted.
“We went down there wanting to play, but expecting it to be a really wet and windy day.
“The weather held out against the storms that had been predicted, so we said let’s throw the ball around and not die wondering. We spent most of the first half defending, but defending really well.
“We knew Bath were going to come with a big maul and a big pack, but we fronted up incredibly well to that I felt.
“Having gone 6-3 up in the second half we had the wind behind us, but unfortunately didn’t utilise it. Bath kept the ball through a few phases and, through one or two lapses in our concentration, managed to score some tries.”
Meanwhile, Durham School are today taking part in the quarter-finals of the Nat West Cup, hosting Adams School in the national competition. Kick-off in Durham is at 1.45pm, with the 2006 finalists the only remaining North East representatives in the tournament.