As a Premiership winner last season Chris York knows a thing or two about taking titles, telling Mark Smith how he intends to make it two in a row with Newcastle Falcons
NOT many people choose to leave the Premiership champions for a team in the league below, but Chris York knows a good thing when he sees one.
Just as any stock market speculator latches onto a company on the up, the 22-year-old took the difficult decision to drop down a division and get on board with Newcastle Falcons at their rugby base camp.
The foothills of the Championship’s regular season have proved easy enough to negotiate as ten wins from ten leave them 13 points clear, and after this evening’s home date with Plymouth they will be midway through their 22-game procession to the top spot.
Promotion back to the Premiership then relies on surviving a perplexing play-off concept, the existence of which is yet to be convincingly justified by anybody, but for the time being all they can do is keep on winning.
“It is a bit colder than down south, but the club has been great and there is a really good atmosphere around the place,” said York, who was a central figure in an early-season surge which saw Harlequins going unbeaten into double figures at the start of last year’s Premiership push.
“We are challenging ourselves every week here at Newcastle, and it is an enjoyable place to be part of. John Wells as forwards coach has brought real unity to the pack, and it is just the sort of platform you crave.” Holding down a place in the Quins back-row is a test at the best of times, with York’s minutes restricted by the presence of England skipper Chris Robshaw, international veteran Nick Easter, Samoan hard-man Maurie Fa’asavalu, Saxons cap Tom Guest and open-side scavengers Luke Wallace and Will Skinner.
Three-hundred miles north and the competition is similarly fierce, not that York particularly minds.
“We have a number of top lads in there doing good things, and that is the sort of battle for selection that any team would want,” he said, with Samoan cap Taiasina Tu’ifua, Scottish stalwart Ally Hogg, Kiwi work-horse Richard Mayhew, Cumbrian prospect Mark Wilson and home-grown skipper Will Welch among his back-row stable-mates.