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Newcastle Falcons team to face Saracens

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson returns as one of four changes for Newcastle Falcons as they prepare for Sunday’s visit of Aviva Premiership and European champions Saracens to Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 2pm).

The back-row forward had been an ever-present for the Falcons up until last weekend, playing every minute of every league fixture this season before having to withdraw from the trip to Exeter Chiefs through illness.

He returns in a pack showing three changes as Newcastle go for a third successive Premiership home win, Kyle Cooper and Jon Welsh returning in the front row as Ben Sowrey and Scott Wilson make way. The only other change to the Falcons line-up sees Juan Pablo Socino returning at inside centre, director of rugby Dean Richards confident his side can prove a match for Saracens.

He said: “Saracens play a very different style of rugby to Exeter, but what they both do is they have a very clear game plan which they are adept at executing right to the Nth degree.

“That’s going to be the key for us this weekend, understanding exactly what they are about, how they play, what their game plan is and then executing our own game plan equally as well as they do. If we can do that then we stand a really good chance of coming away with the win.”

Full of respect for Saracens but adamant the Londoners are beatable, he added: “They play to a very prescriptive pattern, they will have both Vunipola brothers involved as we understand it and also the likes of Schalk Burger, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and all those boys.

“They have a team of stars, which is great, and they’ve got to come up here. It’s a difficult place to come here these days because we’re on fire at home, we’re playing well and the boys will be smarting from the defeat at Exeter last weekend.

“They are a side who play a very structured game, they understand how they play and there are little nuances within that which we are looking at to try and exploit. That’s the way it is, and it’s those small details which make a massive difference in the modern game. If they come off we can come away with the win, but it will be pretty close whatever happens.”

Tickets for Sunday’s 2pm kick-off are still available by calling 0871 226 6060.

Newcastle Falcons

15 Alex Tait
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Dominic Waldouck
12 Juan Pablo Socino
11 Sinoti Sinoti
10 Joel Hodgson
9 Sonatane Takulua

1 Rob Vickers
2 Kyle Cooper
3 Jon Welsh
4 Calum Green
5 Evan Olmstead
6 Mark Wilson
7 Will Welch (captain)
8 Nili Latu

Replacements

16 Scott Lawson
17 Ben Harris
18 David Wilson
19 Ally Hogg
20 Callum Chick
21 Sam Egerton
22 Mike Delany
23 Chris Harris

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