Alex Tuilagi and Scott Wilson both make their first Premiership starts for the Falcons against Northampton Saints this weekend in a team that sees four changes from the side that faced London Irish last Sunday.
Alesana Tuilagi will make his first start for Newcastle Falcons this weekend, while Tighthead prop Scott Wilson will make his first Aviva Premiership start as two of the four changes in personnel from the team that faced London Irish for this weekend’s visit of Northampton Saints (kick off 2pm).
Having arrived in the UK in late August, Tuilagi has already made three appearances for the club from the bench but steps up to the starting XV following a knock picked up by Sinoti Sinoti in the act of scoring his try.
Director of Rugby Dean Richards said: “Alex has worked hard in training since joining up with the squad late in the summer and I’m really pleased for him to get a place in Sunday’s starting line-up.”
The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Mike Blair and Phil Godman lining up and Scrum and Fly Half respectively, Adam Powell and Juan Pablo Socino remaining in the centres with Noah Cato and Simon Hammersley continuing on the wing and at fullback.
In the pack, Kieran Brookes comes into the squad at Loosehead Prop with Wilson, fresh from his try scoring exploits last week lining up at Tighthead, with Scott Lawson continuing at hooker.
Speaking of the team selection, Richards said: “Kieran starts at Loosehead which is a position he’s accustomed to as he can play on both sides of the scrum, and allows Scott Wilson to get his first start of the season and a deserved first Premiership start at Tighthead.
“In the second row Josh Furno moves to the blindside which gives us his ball carrying ability down the field and also that additional height in the lineout. It also means that Dom Barrow comes into the second row after a fantastic season last year and starts for the first time alongside Calum Green.”
With Furno, Barrow and Green making up the second row, new father Mark Wilson moves onto the bench for tomorrow’s game, one of a number of changes from last week’s team.
Richards said: “We’ve had a couple of injuries this week, meaning that people haven’t been able to train for the full week.
“As a result Sinoti Sinoti starts on the bench and Ruki Tipuna unfortunately hasn’t made it through this weekend, although he should be fit again in time for next weekend’s match.”
As the Falcons prepare to host the current Aviva Premiership Champions, Richards recognises that his side have a challenge on their hands in the days to come.
“Northampton are undoubtedly a side at the top of their game; they had a great season last season which obviously showed which them winning the Premiership title. We know Sunday will be a challenge for us but the boys are looking forward to the game and to testing ourselves against a strong Northampton side.”
Tickets are still available for Sunday’s game against Northampton Saints (ko 2pm) starting from £15 for adults. To get yours click here, call the club’s 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or visit the East Stand Ticket Office.
Newcastle Falcons vs Northampton Saints 1st XV: Backs: 15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Noah Cato, 13. Adam Powell, 12. Juan Pablo Socino, 11. Alex Tuilagi, 10. Phil Godman, 9. Mike Blair; Forwards: 1. Kieran Brookes, 2. Scott Lawson, 3. Scott Wilson, 4. Calum Green, 5. Dom Barrow, 6. Josh Furno, 7. Will Welch (c), 8. Ally Hogg.
Replacements: 16. Rob Hawkins, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19. Mark Wilson, 20. Richard Mayhew, 21. Warren Fury, 22. Gonzalo Tiesi, 23. Sinoti SInoti.