Newcastle Falcons have announced a strong side for this weekend’s match against Enisei STM in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, as they look to claim a quarter final qualification spot.
Travelling to the Black Sea city of Sochi for the round five match, the team includes first club starts for number 8 Callum Chick and scrum half Jamie Booth, alongside a welcome return from illness by Adam Powell.
Currently sat second in pool one of the competition the Falcons can take a massive step towards qualification for the last eight with a win in Russia, with a mix of experience and exuberance entrusted this weekend.
In the backline, Tom Penny takes to the fullback position, with Argentine international Belisario Agulla and Zach Kibirige joining him in a back three that has proven a handful for defences over the course of the competition.
In the midfield, the returning Powell is partnered by Juan Pablo Socino to bring in a wealth of experience while at half back, debutant Booth will have Tom Catterick alongside at Fly Half, who will look to repeat his impressive performance in the reverse fixture at Kingston Park in November.
In the front row, Alex Rogers and Paddy Ryan will start at loose head and tight hear prop respectively with George McGuigan packing down at hooker.
After making a cameo from the bench at home to Enisei and impressing in outings for the A Team and Blaydon RFC, Will Witty starts in the second row alongside Calum Green while either side of debutant Chick at number 8, Richard Mayhew starts on the blindside flank and assumes the captaincy, with Dan Temm taking to the openside.
On the bench, Rob Hawkins, Ben Harris and Andrew Foster are the front row replacements, while the international experience of Kane Thompson and Mouritz Botha stands ready when required.
Three of the club’s brightest academy talents complete the replacement bench, with Ruaridh Dawson and Daniel Marshall continuing their rugby education in European competition, while Adam Redman has a first involvement in senior matters since graduating to the senior academy this season.
Newcastle Falcons v Enisei STM – 16/1/2015
15 Tom Penny, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Belisario Agulla, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Jamie Booth, 1 Alex Rogers, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Paddy Ryan, 4 Calum Green, 5 Will Witty, 6 Richard Mayhew (C) 7 Daniel Temm, 8 Callum Chick
16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Kane Thompson, 21 Ruaridh Dawson, 22 Adam Redman, 23 Daniel Marshall