Kane Thompson: Newcastle Falcons can assess progress

Kane Thompson
Kane Thompson has been capped at international level by Samoa

Samoa lock Kane Thompson says Newcastle Falcons can prove their Premiership credibility with a good result against Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

Falcons' total of 40 tries is more than all but Sale in the bottom half, but they have only four league wins.

Tigers, who are sixth, have won five of their last six games.

"It will show us where we are at, playing against a team like Leicester, if we are going to talk the talk," Thompson told BBC Newcastle.

"If we come through this one we can really hold ourselves in good stead for the final five games of the Premiership.

"We've been playing well the last few weeks and came close against Wasps."

Dean Richards
Dean Richards was successful as a player and coach at Leicester Tigers

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards was in charge at Leicester from 1998 to 2004, leading them to four straight Premierships and two Heineken Cups.

And the connections between the two clubs continue as Falcons players Anitelea and Alesana Tuilagi, Kieran Brookes, Rob Hawkins and Calum Green are also former Tigers.

Newcastle's artificial pitch, the influence of coach Dave Walder in the club's attacking structures and the developing partnership between playmakers Juan Pablo Socino and Tom Catterick have all been factors in the shift to a more entertaining brand of rugby in 2014-15.

But despite strong displays against Northampton, Saracens and Wasps, Falcons have won just once in the Premiership since November's 20-10 victory against Gloucester - January's defeat of winless London Welsh.

"We have to get that winning mentality," said former Highlanders, Dax and Chiefs second-rower Thompson.

"You have to get it ingrained into you, to learn how to win those close games because it's down to control of the game - those bits and pieces and few inches here and there.

"Once we get that we'll start getting the wins."

Thompson joined Falcons in July 2014 but had to wait until November for his debut in Newcastle colours.