Falcons play host to England v Ireland U20s as the reigning junior Six Nations champions look to defend their title.
England U20s will return to the North East in 2016 as Kingston Park Stadium acts as the venue for the match against Ireland U20s.
The game, due to be played at on Friday 26th February (ko 6.05pm) will be the second England U20s fixture to be played in the North East in two years, following England’s 67-7 ten-try demolition of Wales U20s at the stadium in March 2014. Over 3,000 North East rugby fans turned out for that match, the highlight of which was the Falcons’ own Zach Kibirige’s sublime solo try; a YouTube sensation which can still be viewed here
Speaking of the fixture announcement Falcons MD Mick Hogan said: “We’re thrilled to be able to bring such an exciting game of rugby to our fans in the North East. When we hosted England vs Wales U20s last year the response from the North East public was incredibly positive and we look forward to hosting another fantastic evening of international rugby at the stadium once again.
“It’s our aim to bring the biggest and most entertaining rugby events into the region and we’re certain that this game will be no different. We’re hoping to give these international stars of the future the biggest of North East welcomes!”
The U20 Six Nations schedule of fixtures replicates that of their senior counterparts, England kicking off the Championship with back-to-back away fixtures in Scotland and Italy before heading to Newcastle.
Meanwhile Bristol will also host a game in the tournament, its first international since 2002, when Ian Peel’s charges face Wales on Friday 11th March before travelling to the South of France for a final weekend fixture that has been the Championship decider for the past two years.
England U20’s Six Nations record includes a Grand Slam in 2011 and a retained title in 2012 and 2013 before a single loss in 2014 to France, on the opening weekend, allowed Les Blues to claim the Championship. Last year’s down-to-the-wire game against France on the final weekend was a title decider. England’s 24-11 victory nudged them ahead on points, making it four title wins in five years.
England U20 Head Coach and former Falcon Ian Peel said: “The competition changes every year and is always extremely competitive. Many players progress through the age groups and the results from Rugby Europe 18s last season are a good indication of just how tough this coming tournament is going to be. For us the focus is always on how we bring the players together and maximise the chance for individuals, and the team to develop and perform.
“Playing in different environments and at different grounds allows us to challenge the players in a number of ways. For some games more travel is involved, playing Wales close to the border means hopefully a good crowd and strong support for both teams. The on-field challenge will always be the most important but players need to learn to handle the external factors as well.
“We want players to understand that, as a squad and management, we create our own environment that we remain true to where ever we play. The process stays the same, whichever hotel, ground, changing room we are in. The focus is on us and delivering the performance we need.
“I played at Newcastle for a number of years and have fond memories as a player and as a coach. It’s a great city with friendly people who love their sport so I am sure we will be well received up there as well as in Bristol.”
Tickets for the England U20s vs Ireland U20s game are on sale now. To purchase yours click here, visit the Kingston Park Stadium East Stand Ticket Office or call the club’s 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.
Although the game does not form part of Newcastle Falcons Season Ticket Membership package, Season Ticket Members can also purchase tickets to the game. For more information visit the Falcons’ Ticket Office or call the Ticket Hotline.
England U20 Six Nations Fixtures
v Scotland Friday 05 February (8pm) Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow
v Italy Friday 12 February (7.10pm) Stadio Pacifici, San Dona' Di Piave
v Ireland Friday 26 February (6.05pm) Kingston Park, Newcastle
v Wales Friday 11 March (7.30pm) Ashton Gate, Bristol
v France Friday 18 March (6.45pm) Stade du Hameau, Pau