Falcons announce three changes for tussle with Tigers

Friday 6 March 2015

Tipuna, Rogers and Mayhew return to starting line up ahead of visit of Leicester Tigers

Newcastle Falcons have announced a broadly unchanged team from last weekend’s close run match at Saracens as they take on Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park on Sunday (kick off 3pm)

The starting fifteen shows only three changes from the side that earned a losing bonus point and outscored their hosts three tries to one last Saturday with two coming in the pack and one in the backs.

The main section of the backline remains unchanged, and having demonstrated some of his brutally effective power last week to score a try, Alesana Tuilagi will have an opportunity to unleash that on his former club while Alex Tait could be in line for bout of sibling rivalry at fullback, should brother Mathew be named in the Tigers side.

At half back, an injury picked up by Mike Blair offers Ruki Tipuna the chance to impose the fast, upbeat tempo he has brought to recent matches from the bench, right from the off while Tom Catterick retains the fly half jersey for seventh Aviva Premiership match in a row.

In the forward pack, changes come in the front and back rows as an injury sustained by Juan Pablo Orlandi on a pectoral muscle sees Alex Rogers come in for his first start for the club at Tight Head prop.

Stalwarts of the Loose Head and Hooker shirts this season, Rob Vickers and Scott Lawson retain those positions while Kane Thompson and Dom Barrow remain in place as the starting locks.

Thompson in particular had an impressive outing last weekend, winning six line outs and stealing two. With potential opposite number Geoff Parling stealing the same amount, and winning four, it is a match up that is poised to offer an intriguing sub plot, should the England man and former Falcon feature for the visitors .

In the back row, a fit again Richard Mayhew returns on the blindside flank with club captain Will Welch switching over to his usual open-side role alongside Mark Wilson at number eight.

This pair had a busy day at Allianz Park making 28 tackle between them with Wilson’s effort impressive in particular as he played through the effect of a virus that had affected him the week prior.

On the bench, Rob Hawking and Mark Irving are joined by Rob O'Donnell in providing the front row cover, with a short term shortage of the Falcons own propping ranks necessitating an agreement with Worcester to allow the club to field the required number of front row replacements this weekend.

Fresh from try scoring exploits in Italy’s 19-22 win against Scotland in Edinburgh, Josh Furno takes a place alongside Andy Saull, who himself was a try scorer last weekend as the other forward replacements.

New signing Sonatane Takulua could be in line for his Newcastle Falcons debut as he lines up in the number 21 shirt while Gonzalo Tiesi and Noah Cato complete the Falcons side.

With over 7,000 tickets now sold for Sunday’s game and the upcoming days traditionally being the busiest in terms of sales, a crowd in excess of the seven year high seen at the Saracens match in December is likely to roar on the Falcons this weekend.

Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 8/3/2015 – KO 15:00

15 Alex Tait, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino 11 Alesana Tuilagi 10 Tom Catterick 9 Ruki Tipuna, 1 Rob Vickers 2 Scott Lawson 3 Alex Rogers 4 Kane Thompson 5 Dom Barrow 6 Richard Mayhew 7 Will Welch 8 Mark Wilson

Replacements – 16 Rob Hawkins 17 Mark Irving 18 Rob O’Donnell 19 Josh Furno 20 Andy Saull 21 Sonatane Takulua 22 Gonzalo Tiesi 23 Noah Cato

To book your tickets, please click here call 0871 2266060 or visit the Kingston Park box office.

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