Newcastle Falcons will field an experienced line up against Sale Sharks this weekend as the North East club look to progress in the LV= Cup.
The side captained by Andy Saull sees eleven changes from the team that secured a bonus point victory over Bucharest Wolves in Cluj last Saturday and earned the Falcons a place in the European Challenge Cup quarter finals.
One notable change is Tongan international Uili Kolo’ofai, who returns from injury to join Saull and Richard Mayhew in the back row for what will be his second competitive appearance since picking up an injury in Round 1 of the LV competition.
The rest of the Falcons’ pack includes three internationals, with Josh Furno (Italy) and Scott MacLeod (Scotland) appearing in the second row while Eric Fry (USA) lines up alongside former LV= Cup winner Rob Hawkins and Alex Rogers in the front row.
Elsewhere on the field Jamie Helleur makes a welcome return to the Falcons’ starting line-up at outside centre alongside his fellow Samoan international Andy Tuilagi. On the wings are Danny Barnes and Lee Smith, with Alex Tait moving back into the Full Back position.
Last week’s scrum half Ruki Tipuna holds onto the number 9 shirt, partnered for this game by Rory Clegg at Fly Half.
The Falcons’ bench for the game include one of last weekend’s double try scorers Rob Vickers, who will be accompanied by fellow Prop Mark Irving and Hooker Scott Lawson.
Completing the forward replacements are Ally Hogg, who this week announced his decision to re-sign with the Falcons for a further two years, and Sean Robinson.
Scottish international half backs Mike Blair and Phil Godman (who returns to the team following a fractured hand) are accompanied by Simon Hammersley as the replacements behind the scrum.
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks
15 Alex Tait, 14 Lee Smith, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 Anitelea Tuilagi, 11 Danny Barnes, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Ruki Tipuna; 1 Eric Fry, 2 Rob Hawkins, 3 Alex Rogers, 4 Josh Furno, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Andy Saull (c), 8 Uili Kolo’ofai.
Replacements 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Mark Irving, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Mike Blair, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Simon Hammersley.