B&I Cup Preview: Falcons V Connacht

Friday 11 January 2013

Newcastle Falcons welcome back skipper Will Welch to the starting line-up for Saturday’s British and Irish Cup clash with Connacht Eagles at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).

The 22-year-old talisman has made a full recovery from a back injury which has put paid to the majority of this season.

Falcons boss Dean Richards has made six further changes with Tom Catterick, James Fitzpatrick, Andrew Higgins and Warren Fury all coming into a new-look backline.

Scott MacLeod is the only other change in the pack, replacing towering lock James Hudson who drops to the bench.

Welch is delighted to be back in the mix after a lengthy spell on the side-line, saying: “It’s great to be back and it’s not been the best of starts for me this season, but I’m fighting fit and ready to go now.”

“I got 25 minutes at Doncaster and I was blowing a bit, but I should get up to speed after a couple of games,” he added.

Victory for the northeasterners this weekend will seal their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “After scoring four tries against Doncaster and getting five points, you can’t ask for more in some respects, but there’s room for improvement and the players know that.”

“We’ll try our best and hopefully get the five points, which has been happening quite a lot this season, but it’s really not about that and it’s the performance that we’ll be focusing on,” he added.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Andrew Higgins, 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Richard Mayhew

Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 James Hudson, 19 Chris York, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Alex Crockett

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