Scrum-half Warren Fury says he and his Newcastle Falcons team-mates are recharged and ready to fly into the Premiership relegation run-in after a week away from training.
With no game last weekend the squad were given time to refresh both body and mind ahead of the final four games of the season, the next of which takes them to London Irish on Sunday.
A 17-12 loss to Worcester has Newcastle nine points ahead of the Warriors at the foot of the table, Fury revealing: “We had last week off, and it was the first chance since June I have had to go home to Wales.
“It was nice to see the family, meet my new nephew, and just recharge the batteries after a long old season.
“The boys are refreshed as a result, and fuel has been added to the fire by losing against Worcester and wanting to rectify things in relation to that.
“We have had a week away to stew on it, and the boys are absolutely itching to get out there.”
Worcester will get first chance to eat into the deficit between the two teams when they host Exeter Chiefs tomorrow, not that Fury is overly fretting about the permutations.
The former Bath and Leeds man, who has been capped twice by Wales, joked when asked how many points he thinks will keep the Falcons up: “I couldn’t tell you that, to be honest.
“My maths is so poor I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
“For a simple fella like me it is just turning up and trying to beat the team in front of you. I know it is a cliché, but that is how we are approaching it as well as obviously representing the North East and our fans.
“We are playing for our mates.”
The 28-year-old could have a new man beside him for the Madejski Stadium trip as director of rugby Dean Richards prepares to name his side today, with Rory Clegg understood to be in line for a recall to the side.
The England Saxons cap has not started a game since the 18-14 loss at Harlequins in mid-February, Fury hoping to make the most of Newcastle’s solid set-piece on the wide open expanses of Reading’s football pitch after a degree of public criticism for kicking too much ball away.
He said: “It is us out there on the pitch, and you have got to understand and play the conditions. We can all comment about the style, but a lot of factors go into that.
“It is not just mindless. I am a fan myself, and the reason I play rugby is because I enjoy the game. We do want to put on a spectacle for our supporters, but you can’t ignore the conditions and the opposition.
“You have to play what is in front of you, so if you are playing against a potent back three you don’t want to be kicking the ball deep to them and letting them run at you.
“It is horses for courses, and you can’t play running rugby in some of the weather we have been having up at Kingston Park. Only now, with pitches firming up, can you really do that, but you have got to be adaptable to the conditions.” Up against a London Irish squad containing Australian pivot James O’Connor and England speedster Marland Yarde, he added: “They have got pedigree throughout their squad, but they are only flesh and bone like any other team.
“Names go out the window for me because it is 80 minutes of rugby which will determine what happens. Our set-piece has been positive, which we can build on, and the forwards have put in a huge amount of hard work. It has given us tidy ball to use and play from, and you cannot fault the effort of the lads in that.
“We have had positive outcomes in those set-piece situations, and we are excited about this next challenge.”