Newcastle Falcons have announced an attacking minded side for Saturday’s European Rugby Challenge Cup visit of Brive Correze as they look to complete the pool stages on a positive note.
The starting 15 sees a wealth of Aviva Premiership Rugby and international experience line up as the club look to remain unbeaten at Kingston Park in this season’s tournament.
Three changes are made to the backline which see returns for Simon Hammersley at full-back, Alex Tait on the right wing and Chris Harris at outside centre.
The only member of the backs not to come through the club’s academy, Argentine international Juan Pablo Socino, retains the inside centre shirt for a fourth consecutive week while Zach Kibirige moves across to the left wing for his fourth start of the season.
In the half backs, the partnership of Michael Young and Craig Willis reunites and will be keen to build on the performance they delivered in their last outing on the Kingston Park pitch, the 19-14 win over Bath at the start of the month.
In the forwards, Scottish international hooker Scott Lawson comes in to add his wealth of experience, against what is anticipated to be a typically abrasive Brive pack, with Alex Rogers and Andrew Foster propping alongside.
It is an international affair in the second row as Mouritz Botha and Kane Thompson provide the go forward in the pack’s engine room, while the back row is another area where home cultivated academy products are to the fore.
On the openside flank, Will Welch returns to captain the side while Mark Wilson returns to the blindside. Fresh from a first senior start for the club against Enisei and being announced as part of the England U20s side for their upcoming Six Nations campaign, Callum Chick makes a first Kingston Park start at number eight.
On the replacements bench, Chick’s fellow academy members Dan Marshall and Ruaridh Dawson are also in line to make their latest contributions in what has been an impressive first season in the senior academy ranks, while Adam Powell provides a backline option armed with a vast amount of experience.
The replacement front row sees George McGuigan, Ben Harris and Paddy Ryan standing ready to enter the fray.
Completing the line up, Calum Green and Richard Mayhew provide the cover for the second and back rows.
Newcastle Falcons squad v Brive Correze – Saturday 23rd January KO 15:00
15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Michael Young, 1 Alex Rogers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Mouritz Botha, 5 Kane Thompson, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (C), 8 Callum Chick
16 George McGuigan, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Calum Green, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Ruaridh Dawson, 22 Adam Powell, 23 Daniel Marshall