Newcastle Falcons have handed an Aviva Premiership debut to fly half Craig Willis in this weekend’s match against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road, kick off 3pm.
The 20 year old half back has been making steady progress throughout the season, having guided the club through their Kings of the North Campaign in that position and the two European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures against Connacht.
Willis is one of only four changes to the starting line up from the last league game against Saracens, although a number of personnel have made positional changes ahead of the weekend’s game.
Fresh from eye catching stints in the European competition, Simon Hammersley make a first Premiership start since November 1st at fullback, with Alex Tait moving across to the right wing position.
The ever developing Belisario Agulla moves a position in field to take up the outside centre berth alongside Chris Harris, while leading Challenge Cup try scorer Marcus Watson continues on the left wing.
Partnering Willis in the half backs, Michael Young will again provide service to an exciting backline from scrum half.
In the pack, Rob Vickers, George McGuigan and Jon Welsh will again pack down in the front row, following on from two committed showings in the last two league games.
Sean Robinson’s impressive rise continues as he retains his post in the second row, alongside new partner Mark Wilson, who moves up from his usual berth on the back row.
The Cumbrian’s move into the engine room sees Ally Hogg take to the blindside flank, while captain Will Welch and Nili Latu remain on the openside flank and at number eight respectively.
The replacements bench continue the settled theme, with Scott Lawson, Alex Rogers and Taione Vea providing front row options, with Mouritz Botha and Todd Clever covering the second and back rows.
Tane Takulua continues as replacement scrum half, while Tom Catterick and Juan Pablo Socino complete the matchday 23.
V Leicester Tigers – 26/12/15 – KO 3pm
15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Belisario Agulla, 12 Chris Harris, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Michael Young, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Mark Wilson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (C), 8 Nili Latu
16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Todd Clever, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Tom Catterick, 23 Juan Pablo Socino