EVEN the riches and glamour of French rugby can not dissuade Newcastle Falcons lock Sean Tomes from his fervent belief there is no place like home.
The Gateshead-born forward returned to Kingston Park this season to bolster their push back to the Premiership following last season’s relegation, insisting he prefers the River Tyne to the Riviera any day of the week.
Tomes said: “It is fantastic being involved again and Newcastle have always been the club I wanted to play for.
“I guess for a lot of players their dream move would be Toulon or another big French club, but for me it was always to come back to Newcastle and contribute as much as I can for my local team.”
Having been released from the Falcons after graduating from their famed academy, spells at Newport Gwent Dragons, Exeter and Bedford followed for the former Scotland Under-20s cap who has become a mainstay during his second stint in the North East.
He added: “At the end of this season I want to be able to look back and think I have played my part, but I am just treating every day as a new opportunity and trying to make a daily contribution.
“Hopefully, that will transpire into week to week and then from there we will see.
“The Falcons’ coaches are trying to help me utilise my size and my weight more effectively and we are lucky to have a great management team up here.
“They give me pointers every day and being totally honest I feel for the first time in my career like I am being properly coached on the real technical areas.
“The sort of detail they go into is not something I had never experienced at my previous clubs and it is just a case of taking it on board and fine-tuning my game.”
Having added his ballast during Saturday’s 24-3 win at Jersey in atrocious conditions, Tomes should be back in the thick of it when Plymouth become the latest team to try and topple the unbeaten Championship leaders at Kingston Park on Friday.
He said: “In terms of areas for improvement from Jersey the key is starting the game the way we finish it and I am sure that will be a talking point.
“We have had a look at Plymouth on the video and I am in a different boat to most of the lads because I have played against them for the past four seasons.
“I have experience of this league already, and I know first-hand what they are about.
“Traditionally they are a huge pack who are very direct with their ball-carrying, and they place a lot of emphasis on their scrum.
“Looking at them this year they seem to have all of those attributes once again, but have also managed to get their back-line firing.
“That makes them a lot more of a threat but we will just try to do what we have done all season, treat them with respect, earn our dominance and put them away.”
Revealing his side’s build-up to be unaffected by the rain which has decimated so much of the country, Tomes added: “Luckily we have the synthetic pitch at Druid Park which has been really useful during the rain and given the weather we had to play in over at Jersey it couldn’t get much worse for Friday.
“Jersey was some of the most difficult conditions we have played in this season, and our first-half performance kind of reflected that.
“After half-time we got in the swing of things a little more, we regrouped and emerged a stronger side.
“It is fair to say we would have preferred a bit more purchase underfoot, but we got the result and will again just prepare for whatever is thrown at us.”