Newcastle Falcons have named a starting side with just one change as they prepare to welcome Northampton Saints to a packed Kingston Park Stadium this weekend.
Mark Wilson returns to the back row and will be replaced in the second row berth he has occupied so effectively by England international Mouritz Botha.
Making his first start since the Falcons’ European victory over Brive, Botha will partner the incumbent Sean Robinson, the Falcons Academy graduate having this week been named as the league’s top line out performer.
Wilson, meanwhile, will move into the Blindside Flanker position where he will play alongside club captain Will Welch who moves over to the openside as cover for the injured Nili Latu, the Tongan captain awaiting a late fitness decision after leaving the field injured last weekend.
Scotland international Ally Hogg completes the back row at Number 8, where he will make his 138th appearance for the club.
The Falcons’ front row remains unchanged, Bobby Vickers fast closing in on his 200th club appearance as he dons the Loosehead jersey, with Scott Lawson continuing at Hooker and Tongan international Taione Vea retaining his spot at Tighthead Prop.
Within the backline Simon Hammersley continues at Full Back after a dynamic try scoring performance last weekend, while Alex Tait and Marcus Watson will once again provide support on the wings.
After touching down for the Falcons’ second try last weekend, Adam Powell will make his 73rd club appearance on Sunday in the centre of the team, joined by Chris Harris who returns to the Outside Centre position.
Veteran Fly Half Andy Goode will again occupy the Falcons’ number 10 shirt, with Scrum Half Michael Young completing the starting line up what will be his 95th appearance for the club.
Meanwhile within the Falcons’ replacements, Italian international Josh Furno will be hoping to return to the field for the first time this year after a length injury due to an ear and hamstring injury. Front row support is provided by Japanese international Kensuke Hatakeyama, fellow Prop Alex Rogers and Hooker George McGuigan.
Further international support is provided on the bench by Tongan Scrum Half Tane Takulua and Argentine Centre Juan Pablo Socino, with Fly Half Craig Willis completing the match day 23.
Newcastle Falcons vs Northampton Saints: 15.Simon Hammersley, 14. Alex Tait, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Adam Powell, 11. Marcus Watson, 10. Andy Goode, 9. Michael Young; 1. Rob Vickers, 2. Scott Lawson, 3. Taione Vea, 4. Mouritz Botha, 5. Sean Robinson, 6. Mark Wilson, 7. Will Welch (c), 8. Ally Hogg.
Replacements: 16. George McGuigan, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19. Josh Furno, 20. Nili Latu, 21. Sonatane Takulua, 22. Craig Willis, 23. Juan Socino.