JAMIE Helleur has given a glimpse into the psychology of Newcastle Falcons’ promotion push, insisting the Championship leaders intend to ‘demoralise’ their opposition.
The Falcons are 12 points clear of their nearest challengers midway through the regular season after winning all 11 of their games, and sit top of their British and Irish Cup pool ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newport.
Driven on by a desire to crush everything in their path, Helleur revealed: “It becomes a mindset – call it arrogance or whatever – but whichever way you look at it you can’t say it’s a bad thing to go into every game expecting to win.
“We want to demoralise every team we play against, make a real statement and you can’t argue with 11 games unbeaten.”
The Samoan centre was a try-scorer in Friday’s 31-15 win over Plymouth, a night which saw them missing out on the four-try bonus point for the first time at Kingston Park this term.
They even trailed early on, with Helleur at a loss to explain their sluggish start.
“Plymouth came up ready to play rugby, and it was early mistakes from ourselves which allowed them to apply some pressure,” he said.
“We were a bit shellshocked, but the good thing was that we didn’t panic. It is hard to put your finger on the reasons why it happened, but sometimes you can just turn up and your head is not right.
“We had only conceded one try at home all season, so to ship two in one game was really disappointing. We are trying to raise our standards, but sometimes these things happen and it is a case of how you respond.
“We have just simply got to start games better than we did on Friday.
“We put ourselves under pressure, and we should not be finding ourselves in those positions.”
Director of rugby Dean Richards was among the many offering a lukewarm assessment of their latest triumph, with Helleur stating: “The fact that we are being so critical after a game we have won by 16 points is a bit of a positive, and it has been happening a lot lately.
“Even when we win we want to win better, and that is in contrast to last year when it felt like we couldn’t win anything. It is a habit, and the whole thing is just about trying to improve every week.
“Within that we know there are areas where we can make gains and we are working hard to bring about those changes, but we are not going to pretend we are unhappy with the results.”
Keeping the season’s one and only goal in mind, the former Auckland and Blues centre said: “All you have got to do is win the play-off final by one point to get promoted, and that is where all of our thoughts are.
“All we can do is prepare for that as best we can, by winning games. We know we can be more slick and ruthless in the way we achieve that, but the results are the main thing.” Part of a congested midfield roster also including Tane Tu’ipulotu, James Fitzpatrick, Alex Crockett and Suka Hufanga among others, he said: “Getting a stranglehold on a position in this squad is never easy with the amount of competition for places, but guys are getting rewarded for their efforts.
“I feel like I have played all right when I have been given the opportunity, and I suppose all you can do is just work hard in training every day to try and put your case forward.
“The style of rugby we are playing at the moment seems to suit me, and everybody is enjoying it.
“I have just got to sharpen those tools and be more ruthless, but it is great to be so involved.”