Newcastle Falcons back row Richard Mayhew is delighted at Peter Russell's arrival as head coach, and can't wait for the new season to begin.
Mayhew is back in training, having been given an extended break like many of the Falcons' overseas players, during which time he got married in his native New Zealand.
He says the side is ready for an immediate return to the Aviva Premiership.
Mayhew told the Falcons' official site: "The vibe is ten times better, and we are definitely heading places now. From the early signs the players have taken it up a notch.
"We have also had some experienced heads coming into the squad, and it has contributed to a really good and feisty spirit in training."
Mayhew believes the club can take positives from the end of last season, when victories at Gloucester and London Wasps were almost enough to lift the Falcons off the bottom of the Premiership.
But he has warned his teammates that immediate promotion back to the Premiership will not be straightforward.
"It is a very tough league with a lot of good players. It will not be as fast as the Premiership, but the physicality is right up there and the collisions will be similar," he said.
"Playing against us will be a virtual cup final for the opposition every week."
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