Tom Catterick hopes his first experience of senior captaincy can benefit him in the long run, despite Newcastle Falcons failing to take off in the Premiership 7s finals.
Newcastle were eliminated at the quarter-final stage in Friday’s Twickenham Stoop showcase after losing 12-10 to Newport Gwent Dragons, Catterick having been saved for the abbreviated code rather than flying out for the previous night’s 26-25 loss in Bayonne.
He said: “I was really happy when Mark Laycock and Jimmy Ponton asked me to take the captaincy, and have definitely benefited from the experience.
“I hope I did an OK job, although you will have to ask the boys about that.
“It was something different for me, and I did enjoy it. I will definitely take things from it into my 15s, and it will stand me in good stead for the rest of the season.
“I have captained Barnard Castle School, but not a lot apart from that. I am normally pretty selfish in just looking after myself when it comes to games, but this was another string to the bow and something that will help me in the future I am sure.”
Fighting for his place in a Falcons back-line bolstered by fresh blood over the summer, the former England Under-20s cap said: “I feel like the 15s stuff is going well, and the squad we have this season is a definite improvement on last year.
“That is not just the boys who have come in, but the standards being shown by the people who were here already. They have really been driven on by the new players and coaches, and it has just given it a fresh impetus.
“I have watched bits of the Bayonne game, and it looked like we were really good in parts while maybe not so good in others.
“It was maybe not a full-strength side with quite a few boys back at home, and to lose narrowly with a kick to win it is not a bad show really. There were a lot of positives to be taken, and I expect the coaches will be reasonably pleased with how things are progressing.”
Philosophical at his side’s early exit from the sevens finals, where they were eliminated from the Plate by London Irish in a 12-5 semi-final loss, Catterick said: “That was not how we saw the evening panning out and we were pretty disappointed with the results, even though they were two pretty close games.
“We did ourselves proud in terms of effort, which was outstanding, and nobody could fault the work-rate we showed on the pitch. But we were our own worst enemies in not finishing off the scoring opportunities which were out there for us.
“If you don’t do that in sevens you are going to get caught out, and unfortunately that is what happened to us.”
He added: “The rain probably suited us and we made no bones about the fact we are a direct team. We might not be the quickest but we were the fittest and most physical, although in that first game we didn’t live up to those standards.
“I said to the young lads just enjoy the experience, because for some of them it will have been the first time they have played in front of a big crowd and live on TV.
“At that age it is all good experience for them, and they took it in their stride. Those young guys showed they were easily good enough to be here, and I was really impressed with them.”