Newcastle Falcons have announced a starting team showing five changes from the team that took a 23 all draw from last week’s match against Wasps, as they travel to face Allianz Park this Saturday to face Saracens in the Aviva Premiership.
With a combination of international call ups and nursing niggles conspiring to force changes upon Director of Rugby Dean Richards and the Falcons coaching team, the team still exhibit an air of purpose ahead of taking on third placed Saracens.
In a back line showing only one change from the announced line up against Wasps, Gonzalo Tiesi steps in for Noah Cato, who withdrew late from last week’s squad with back trouble while Alex Tait moves back to the fullback berth he was due to occupy against the Coventry-based side.
With Sinoti Sinoti, Adam Powell, Juan Pablo Socino, Tom Catterick and Mike Blair all remaining in their spots from last week, the Falcons are fielding a backline that has scored 14 of the clubs 37 league tries and who have been exhibiting some exciting skills, in both attack and defence on the same style of 3G synthetic surface that will host this weekend’s game.
In the forwards, international call ups see Keiran Brookes and Josh Furno replaced by Juan Pablo Orlandi and Kane Thompson respectively, while a further change in the front five sees Rob Hawkins give way to Scott Lawson at Hooker.
Providing continuity in the front and second rows, Rob Vickers remains as the starting loose head prop and Dom Barrow again occupies the number five shirt in his second start since returning from injury.
Across the back row, Ally Hogg is unavailable following a hamstring strain picked up during the Wasps game. As a result captain Will Welch starts on the blindside, with Andy Saull stepping into the openside flank position against his former club.
Completing the back row, Mark Wilson moves across from six to number 8, making his eighth start of the season in a position where he has bagged four of his tries to date.
On the bench, Rob Hawkins, Alex Rogers and Mark Irving provide front row options while Calum Green and Chris York complete the forward contingent.
With Ruki Tipuna, Alesana Tuilagi and Rory Clegg available as back replacements the Falcons are able to call on a potent injection of go forward in a game that should provide a fast open spectacle.
Newcastle Falcons vs Saracens:
15. Alex Tait, 14. Sinoti Sinoti, 13. Adam Powell, 12. Juan Pablo Socino, 11. Gonzalo Tiesi, 10. Tom Catterick, 9. Mike Blair;
1. Rob Vickers, 2. Scott Lawson, 3. Juan Pablo Orlandi, 4. Kane Thompson, 5. Dom Barrow, 6. Will Welch (c), 7. Andy Saull, 8. Mark Wilson.
16. Rob Hawkins, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Mark Irving, 19. Calum Green, 20. Chris York, 21. Ruki Tipuna, 22. Rory Clegg, 23. Alex Tuilagi.