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Newcastle Falcons teams for double-header v Doncaster and Nottingham

Nili Latu

Three-time French title winner Maxime Mermoz is among the Newcastle Falcons players making their debuts in Saturday’s home double header against Doncaster Knights (2pm) and Nottingham (4.30pm).

The European Champions Cup-winning centre joined the Falcons from Leicester Tigers in the summer and will start in the second game of a packed afternoon at Kingston Park Stadium, with fellow recruits Cameron Cowell, Sam Stuart, Josh Matavesi, Toby Flood, Trevor Davison, Ryan Burrows, Adam Radwan, Charlie Wilson and Sami Mavinga also making their Falcons bows over the course of the two games.

Tonga’s most-capped player Nili Latu captains the side for the opening match against Championship semi-finalists Doncaster, with Cowell and Radwan adding pace to the back three after shining in last month’s run to the final of the Singha Premiership 7s. Fijian international Matavesi starts at inside centre having joined from Ospreys, Stuart featuring at scrum-half following his move north from Richmond.

Darlington Mowden Park prop Jack Payne starts at tight-head, Championship Dream Team forward Glen Young packing down at lock against the club with which he spent most of last season.

Returning fly-half Toby Flood is named in a 15-man replacement contingent which will cover both games, the former England international joined on the bench by the club’s most recent cap, flanker Mark Wilson. Leeds Beckett scrum-half James Elliott and Durham University prop Diogo Ferreira are also among the replacements on a day which will see 43 players in total taking the field.

The second game against Nottingham sees Mermoz paired with Juan Pablo Socino in a potent midfield partnership, the team led by Scottish back-rower Ally Hogg. French prop Sami Mavinga makes his debut on the loose-head side after joining from Lyon, with former Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows starting at No 8.

Tickets for Saturday’s double header are priced just £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. Season ticket members are entitled to free entry.

Newcastle Falcons v Doncaster Knights (2pm)

15 Cameron Cowell
14 Adam Radwan
13 Chris Harris
12 Josh Matavesi
11 Sinoti Sinoti
10 Joel Hodgson
9 Sam Stuart

1 Rob Vickers
2 Kyle Cooper
3 Jack Payne
4 Will Witty
5 Glen Young
6 Harrison Orr
7 Nili Latu (captain)
8 Callum Chick

Newcastle Falcons v Nottingham (4.30pm)

15 Brett Connon
14 Belisario Agulla
13 Maxime Mermoz
12 Juan Pablo Socino
11 Ben Stevenson
10 Craig Willis
9 Ruaridh Dawson

1 Sami Mavinga
2 Santiago Socino
3 Trevor Davison
4 Calum Green
5 Evan Olmstead
6 Ally Hogg (captain)
7 Simon Uzokwe
8 Ryan Burrows

Replacements (for both games)

16 Scott Lawson
17 Jamie Blamire
18 Adam Brocklebank
19 Nick Civetta
20 Mark Wilson
21 James Elliott
22 Toby Flood
23 Simon Hammersley
[BLANK] Charlie Wilson
[BLANK] Ben Sowrey
[BLANK] Diogo Ferreira
[BLANK] Josh Williams
[BLANK] Max Davies


v Doncaster Knights (2pm)
Referee: Hamish Smales
Assistant referees: Matt Daubney & Chris Sharp

v Nottingham (4.30pm)
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: John Meredith & Wayne Falla

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