Newcastle Falcons flyer Ryan Shortland starts for the first time this campaign in Saturday’s Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 3 opener at Bucharest Wolves (kick-off 3pm local time).
The Kiwi winger, who returns from a hamstring injury, is one of 10 changes to the side that defeated Worcester Warriors in the Aviva Premiership last weekend with academy products Sean Brown and Harrison Collins making their senior bow.
Brown starts on the wing, while Collins gets the nod at No.8 as Falcons boss Dean Richards gives youth a chance to shine on the European stage.
Chris Pilgrim and Joel Hodgson form a new half-back combination with skipper Alex Crockett coming in at inside centre alongside Adam Powell.
Meanwhile George McGuigan, Fraser McKenzie, Sean Tomes and Chris York all provide the go-forward upfront.
Back in European competition after a year’s absence, Falcons director of rugby Richards is looking forward to the trip to the Romanian capital.
“The fact that it will be a regional side that we will be facing makes them a little stronger, and it will certainly be a competitive game for us,” said Falcons chief Richards.
“There is no point us going over there thinking it’s going to be an easy game – they have some talented players and it will be an interesting place in which to play our rugby,” he added.
Richards’ men come into this weekend’s European showdown full of confidence on the back of their 16-11 victory at Worcester.
Reflecting on his side’s triumph, Richards said: “I was really pleased with the win at the weekend, and as I said post-match, to have 12 academy products in the squad was fantastic.
“We showed a lot of character, particularly towards the end of the game in order to get the result.”
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Ryan Shortland, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Alex Crockett (c), 11 Sean Brown, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Sean Tomes, 6 Chris York, 7 Mark Wilson, 8 Harrison Collins
Replacements: 16 Kieran Brookes, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Dom Barrow, 20 James Fitzpatrick, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Noah Cato