Ally Hogg captains Newcastle Falcons for this Sunday’s RFU Championship trip to Cornish Pirates as the northeasterners aim to make it four wins in a row (kick-off 3pm).
Hogg skippers the side in the absence of Will Welch who suffered concussion in last week’s bonus point triumph over Doncaster Knights.
Falcons’ boss Dean Richards has made four changes for the journey south with Alex Crockett and Joel Hodgson getting the nod in the backline.
Crockett replaces James Fitzpatrick at the heart of the Falcons backline while Hodgson is handed the No.10 jersey.
Rob Vickers starts at hooker and Taiasina Tu’ifua returns to openside flanker after two weeks on the sideline.
“We are expecting a very difficult test down there at the Pirates and you just have to look at the quality of rugby that they play,” said Richards who has made the perfect start to life on Tyneside with 15-points out of 15.
“Cornish Pirates play a very expansive game and have scored a lot of tries this year, and they are probably the most consistent in terms of their style of performance.
“They are a very good side and I said the other night on television that I think it is a very difficult place to go even for any Premiership side and I don’t think that many would come back with a win,” added Richards.
Despite suffering a 29-17 defeat at Bristol last weekend, the Penzance outfit will be a tough proposition at the Mennaye Field according to Richards.
Richards said: “We are looking to win and we are certainly going down there for the win – more than anything I want to come away with a ‘w’ and providing we get that I will be happy.”
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Rory Lawson, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 James Hudson, 6 Ally Hogg (c), 7 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 8 Richard Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 Carlo del Fava, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Jamie Helleur, 22 Alex Tait