Sinoti Sinoti believes Newcastle Falcons can win over their supporters this season with good old-fashioned elbow grease.
The Samoan winger was one of the undoubted bright spots in a difficult last campaign as Newcastle laboured to a second-bottom finish, the former Toulon and Aironi man arriving in December and adding a dose of attacking flair to a team struggling to find the try-line.
His dramatic touchdown against Saracens earned him the club’s try of the season award as he rounded off a fine team move.
Positive season ticket sales indicate the Kingston Park faithful are set to turn out in their numbers when the new campaign kicks off in September.
“The fans are amazing,” said Sinoti, the 28-year-old who has signed up for another two seasons in the North East.
“They pay good money to come and watch what they hope will be superb rugby and I can understand where they are coming from with the frustrations they have had.
“I have been on the field feeling the same pain as they are and in some of the games I was thinking ‘is this even happening?’
“The fans just want to see some guts and if they see that then they will back us.”
The smiling Samoan has not been involved in his country’s summer international programme, Newcastle new-boy Andy Tuilagi having last weekend helped them to an 18-13 away win over Fiji after coming on as a second-half replacement.
Won over by his surroundings as he continues to enjoy life on Tyneside, Sinoti added: “Newcastle is nice and I have been treated very well here.
“I have got to know the area a bit better and it is a quiet, mellow chilled-out place.
“After work you can just go home, relax, check out the cafes and have a look around.
“I am not a surfer like a lot of the Kiwi boys, but I enjoy the beach and it is nice to go out and check out the scenery around the region.”
Looking back on a season which saw him sidelined for the middle third after making an instant impact in December, he said: “I had an up-and-down time and getting injured so early was not easy.
“I was fortunate enough to win a two-year contract and I am just going to try and build by training hard over the summer.
“I want to get this club to where it should be, considering the history and the supporters we have.
“There are some interesting bigger things happening, which we can look forward to.”
Buoyed by the prospect of linking up with Samoan brothers Andy and Alex Tuilagi, Sinoti said: “It is great news they are coming to the Falcons.
“Those two are well-known players – powerhouses of rugby and it is good to have them on board. We have to show we mean business, plain and simple, and signings like that send a message.”
A handful of Newcastle’s players, meanwhile, are finally off on their holidays after the end of the international window.
Ex-Rotherham centre Juan Pablo Socino helped Argentina A lift the IRB Tbilisi Cup.
Prop Eric Fry was a late replacement for USA in last weekend’s victory over Canada.
Prop Kieran Brookes played the last 25 minutes of England’s defeat to New Zealand in Hamilton.
Back-five forward Josh Furno featured for the Azzurri on their tour of the Pacific and hooker Scott Lawson is back on home soil following his appearance on the North American leg of Scotland’s trip.
NEWCASTLE lock Fraser McKenzie has joined Edinburgh with immediate effect, the Falcons have announced.
Dunfermline-born McKenzie, 26, has agreed a two-year deal with the RaboDirect PRO12 outfit.
McKenzie signed for Newcastle a year ago and made 21 appearances last season.
He has represented Scotland at under-19, under-20 and A team level.
Newcastle said McKenzie, who began his career with Edinburgh before joining Sale Sharks and then the Falcons, had requested the move to enhance his chances of gaining full international honours with Scotland.
Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards said: “Fraser wants to play international rugby and he feels a move away from the Falcons will improve his chances of achieving that.
“We wish Fraser all the best for the future.”