Photo by Chris Lishman

Big Match Preview: Newcastle V Jersey

Thursday 28 March 2013

Dean Richards has rung the changes for tomorrow’s Good Friday clash with Jersey RFC at Kingston Park (kick-off 5pm).

The Newcastle Falcons boss has made nine changes in all with Joel Hodgson and Warren Fury the most notable inclusions at half-back.

Alex Crockett replaces Jamie Helleur in the centres and plays alongside Adam Powell who is set to make his home debut.

Meanwhile Richards has shuffled the pack with Grant Shiells, Rob Vickers and Kieran Brookes all forming a new-look front row.

James Goode gets the nod ahead of Scott MacLeod in the second-row, while Mark Wilson returns from illness to slot in at blindside flanker with Ollie Stedman rounding off the changes at No.8.

Newcastle come into Friday’s contest on the back of two tricky affairs against Bedford Blues and Nottingham Rugby respectively.

A 17-15 victory at home to Bedford by virtue of a last gasp try from Noah Cato, was backed up by a 14-12 win on the road at Nottingham.

Forwards coach John Wells, who took on the media duties this week, believes it was just the tonic as the Falcons kick-on towards the play-offs.

“The Bedford and Nottingham games have actually helped us because they have exposed us in certain areas which we can work on going into those crucial matches at the end of the season,” said Wells.

“It was good to have those hard fixtures, and now we have to learn the lessons of why we were exposed in certain areas and put things right for when the do or die games come around.

“I’m actually thankful that we are playing those types of games now, and I’m thankful that we are playing Jersey this weekend because they will come at us and that is what we want,” added the former England forwards coach.

Wells watched his side defeat Jersey 24-3 in the reverse fixture back in November, and the Yorkshireman is expecting a physical battle when Ben Harvey’s men come to town.

“There is no doubt that they [Jersey] will come at us upfront, and they are probably the best scrummaging team in the Championship,” said Wells.

Wells added: “I know our scrum is a good one, and I know on our day that we are the best in the league, but if we get it wrong, Jersey will punish us.

“Their driving lineout is excellent and their pick and go game is good – if they get momentum in that department, then it will be a tough game.”

You can watch the full interview with Wells on Falcons TV this lunchtime. Tickets are still available for tomorrow’s game by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 James Goode, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ollie Stedman

Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Jonny Golding, 19 Scott MacLeod, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Ally Hogg

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