Newcastle Falcons have made two changes to the side that defeated Leeds Carnegie in the RFU Championship play-off semi-finals for tomorrow’s play-off final first leg at Bedford Blues (kick-off 7.45pm).
Noah Cato replaces Tom Catterick on the wing, while at hooker Rob Vickers comes in for Matt Thompson who has a virus.
The Falcons lock horns with Bedford for the fourth time this campaign with the North East club victorious on all three previous occasions.
Edging out Bedford twice in the league, Dean Richards’ men defeated the Goldington Road outfit 18-15 last month to progress through to the British and Irish Cup final.
Falcons boss Richards is expecting another close encounter this time round, telling Falcons TV: “They [Bedford] are a very good side and they have quality throughout and they like to play with a lot of width, so it will be a good test for the boys.
“The lads looked sharp in training today, and despite a couple of bumps and bruises in the camp, the guys are looking very good.
“The beauty about the game being over two legs is that whatever happens down there, the second leg is as equally important.
“We will play as well as we can and hopefully come away with the points and carry it on up here, but if not then we have the chance to turn it around up here.”
You can watch the full interview with Dean Richards on Falcons TV by clicking here.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Suka Hufanga, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Jonny Golding, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 James Hudson, 20 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 21 Rory Lawson, 22 Waisea Luveniyali