Toby Flood makes the first start of his second spell at Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they host Rotherham Titans at Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 4.30pm).
The 60-times-capped England fly-half played the second half of last weekend’s 49-19 home win over Nottingham, kicking five from five on a day which also saw the Falcons defeating Doncaster Knights 31-8.
He forms part of a half-back partnership with Sonatane Takulua, the scrum-half who is playing his first pre-season game after helping Tonga secure their place at Rugby World Cup 2019 over the summer.
Full-back Simon Hammersley makes his first start since November 4 when he suffered an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury at Wasps, while former European Champions Cup centre Maxime Mermoz makes his second appearance for the club following his move from Leicester Tigers.
The class of 2017-18 pic.twitter.com/jnkr6r1yuF
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) August 17, 2017
Senior academy players Adam Radwan and Ben Stevenson, both of whom shone at the Singha 7s and scored in last week’s friendlies, form part of the back line – Ben Sowrey making his first start of the season at hooker.
Jon Welsh makes a first outing of the season on the tight-head side, Ryan Burrows packing down at No 8 in a team captained by open-side flanker Will Welch.
Season ticket members are entitled to free entry to Saturday’s match. Non-season ticket members can gain entry for just £10 adults and £5 juniors by calling 0871 226 6060. Saturday’s 4.30pm kick-off will be preceded by Blaydon RFC v Glasgow Hawks, which is a 2pm kick-off.
Newcastle Falcons team to play Rotherham Titans (Saturday, 4.30pm, Kingston Park Stadium)
15 Simon Hammersley
14 Belisario Agulla
13 Ben Stevenson
12 Maxime Mermoz
11 Adam Radwan
10 Toby Flood
9 Sonatane Takulua
1 Trevor Davison
2 Ben Sowrey
3 Jon Welsh
4 Will Witty
5 Glen Young
6 Harrison Orr
7 Will Welch (captain)
8 Ryan Burrows
Referee: John Meredith
Assistant referees: Matt Daubney, Ben Blain