Newcastle Falcons have made three changes for Saturday’s RFU Championship trip to Bedford, as Dean Richards’ men aim to make it eight wins out of eight in the league.
Ryan Shortland returns to the wing after two months out with a hamstring injury, while Mark Wilson replaces skipper Will Welch who sustained a back injury in last week’s 33-0 victory over Rotherham Titans.
Richard Mayhew switches to openside flanker with Sean Tomes coming into the second-row for Carlo del Fava who misses out through injury.
“This is a big month for the club and these next four games are very important for us,” said head coach Peter Russell.
“Last week was a real challenge for us in difficult conditions, and this week will be big test for us against a team that is vying for the title.
“It is very important that we have depth in the squad and that has served us well so far this season as we have had to make changes due to injury.
“We have managed to give everyone a taste of first team action, and I suppose you could say the wheel is continuously turning with everyone mentally fresh.”
This week saw four Falcons players called-up for international duty with Rory Lawson (Scotland), Grant Shiells (Scotland), Taiasina Tu’ifua (Samoa) and Suka Hufanga (Tonga) all in the mix for their respective countries.
Russell said: “It’s tremendous that we have guys representing their country and it just shows that the selectors are looking at all levels, especially in the Championship.
The guys are playing outstanding rugby every week and that puts them in good stead for national selection.”
Following this weekend’s clash at Goldington Road, the Falcons play host to Nottingham next Friday before switching their attention to the visit of Tonga.
Tickets are available for both games by clicking here or call the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Ryan Shortland, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Rory Lawson, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Richard Mayhew, 8 Ally Hogg (c)
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 19 Chris York, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Jamie Helleur