Rugby - Helleur hopes Falcons have turned the corner

It has been a frustrating few months for Jamie Helleur and Newcastle but after appearing to gain lift-off last weekend the Samoa centre insists the Falcons are ready to fly in the Aviva Premiership.

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Rugby - Helleur hopes Falcons have turned the corner
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A general view of Kington Park home to Newcastle Falcons'

Helleur put in the hard yards to help the Falcons secure an instant return to the Aviva Premiership last term only to exit the field on a stretcher nine minutes into his top-flight return with a sickening neck injury against Bath.

In his absence, Newcastle have failed to pull clear of the bottom, though Worcester's inability to pick up points mean they still hold an 11 point advantage over the Warriors.

A hamstring strain delayed Helleur's recovery further before a cameo appearance against Exeter was followed by a full 80 minutes in the narrow home defeat to London Wasps on December 27.

And with Helleur back on the road to recovery the Falcons also began to spread their wings last weekend, delivering one of their best performances of the season to defeat Newport Gwent Dragons 29-0.

It was a welcome lift after a difficult period and means Newcastle have now won two of their last three games in all competitions with Helleur's next objective to stop a run of six consecutive Aviva Premiership defeats – starting with the re-match against Bath on Saturday.

"We've got a lot of confidence coming out of that game and we did a lot of good things that we're looking to take into the Bath game," said Helleur.

"We had struggled a bit with the set-piece but that was strong and we went through the faces as well. It's all about having that composure and when you go through your phases you start to find the space.

"We stuck to our game plan and we got the reward for that. Having guys like Dom Barrow and Gonzalo Tiesi in the team makes a difference. They're calm when we have possession and that makes a difference.

"We have been down the bottom before and around relegation and we don't like that feeling so we don't want to go through that again."

The Falcons have won just once in their last 17 games against Bath – a 27-16 victory at the Rec in 2009 and their opponents are boosted by the release of fly-half George Ford and exciting back Anthony Watson from England duty.

Yet while Newcastle might have their work cut out in the West County, Helleur admits he's just happy to be back to lend a hand.

"It was a frustrating time to be sat on the sidelines," he added.

"It was the neck injury right at the start and then 15 weeks with a hamstring strain which is incredibly frustrating.

"I just wanted to be out there lending a hand but the guys who came in for me did a good job and I'm getting back to where I want to be and hopefully I'll be challenging for a place.

"I'm not quite 100 per cent but I'm getting there and we're looking forward to an important run of games and hopefully I can play my part."

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