Picture courtesy of James Jordan

Big Match Preview: Falcons V Doncaster

Thursday 13 September 2012

Rory Lawson is handed his first start of the season for Friday’s RFU Championship showdown with Doncaster Knights at Kingston Park (kick-off 8pm).

The experienced scum-half replaces the injured Chris Pilgrim who is ruled out for the remainder of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments during last weekend’s win at London Scottish.

Lawson’s inclusion is one of six changes as Dean Richards’ men eye three wins in a row in front of their own fans.

James Fitzpatrick gets his chance to shine at inside centre while Fijian international Waisea Luveniyali occupies the fly-half berth with Jimmy Gopperth moving to full-back.

Luke Fielden, who has notched up three tries this term, switches to the wing replacing the injured Ryan Shortland.

A new front row combination of Jonny Golding, Matt Thompson and Oliver Tomaszczyk will take to the field while the exuberant Scott MacLeod gets the nod in the second-row.

After conceding four tries in the capital last weekend albeit winning the game, Falcons boss Richards has urged his side to cut out the complacency.

He said: The fact that there was some complacency in our game last week really hurt the boys as well as the coaches, and we have to strive for better things than what we showed against London Scottish.

“The players came off the field far more disappointed than I thought they would and it was almost as if we had lost the game rather than winning with seven tries – there shouldn’t be any room for complacency.”

Richards, who has guided his new charges to victory in their opening two league games is looking forward to the notorious Kingston Park atmosphere.

“I love the atmosphere on a Friday night at Kingston Park and it makes it very difficult for the opposition to come here and play,” said Richards.

He added: “It is a wonderful atmosphere and it can have an effect on some visiting players but when I came here as a player I would just walk out onto the pitch and put every other distraction out of my mind.”

Tickets are still available for the Friday night clash by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Andy Higgins, 10 Waisea Luveniyali 9 Rory Lawson, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 James Hudson, 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg

Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 James Hall, 18 Sean Tomes, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Alex Crockett 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Joel Hodgson

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