Newcastle Falcons have made one change for tomorrow’s British and Irish Cup semi-final at Bedford Blues (kick-off 3pm).
Hooker Matt Thompson misses out through illness with Michael Mayhew getting the nod as Dean Richards’ charges look to book their place in the final ahead of the start of the RFU Championship play-offs.
Sean Tomes replaces the cup-tied James Goode on the bench, while Ollie Stedman and Waisea Luveniyali are also named amongst the replacements.
This weekend’s showdown with the Blues is the third meeting between the two sides with the Falcons coming out on top on both occasions.
Claiming a 29-20 victory at Bedford in the league back in November, the Falcons snatched a late win in the reverse fixture last month thanks to a last gasp Noah Cato try.
Falcons boss Dean Richards is confident his side can bounce back from last week’s narrow 19-14 defeat to Bristol at Kingston Park, a result that meant the Falcons ended the regular league campaign with 21 wins out of 22.
“It was a kick up the bum for the lads, and if you look at the game in its entirety there were a lot of unenforced errors from ourselves which contributed hugely to the defeat,” Richards told Falcons TV.
“We created five or six opportunities to score a try which on the day we fluffed – the chances were there but we didn’t take them, and it was a frustrating day at the office, and I don’t see us having another day like that,” he added.
With the season now reaching an exciting climax, Richards insists winning games is more important than the performance, saying: “The win is the most important thing, and couple that with a solid performance from the boys, that is all I want.
“I am not bothered about how many points we win by as long as we win, and I just want people to play to their potential.
“When you get to this stage of the season there are no easy games, and they will be as equally prepared for us as we will be for them.
“The mood in the camp has been good this week, and everyone wants to put right the wrongs, and there is no better game to have than Bedford tomorrow to try and put things right.”
You can watch the full interview with Richards on Falcons TV by clicking here.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Alex Tait, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Michael Mayhew, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 Carlo del Fava, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 James Hall, 18 Sean Tomes, 19 Ollie Stedman, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Waisea Luveniyali, 22 Michael Tait