Two changes to the starting XV for visit of Leicester Tigers
Chris Harris and Marcus Watson return to the Newcastle Falcons starting XV for this Friday’s Aviva Premiership match against Leicester Tigers as the club look to extend their home winning streak to five games.
Having beaten Bath and Harlequins in the last two home league games and taken bonus points from away games at London Irish and Wasps, a predominantly settled selection will enter the field with a chance to maintain and increase the momentum building behind the team.
Harris’s return sees the Cumbrian back take the outside centre shirt for the eighth time for the club, while Adam Powell moves across to the inside centre berth in place of Juan Pablo Socino, who moves to the bench.
Former England 7s star Watson’s return will see him line up on the left wing and look to build on his last outing which saw him claim score his debut Aviva Premiership try to back up the six he collected in the group stages of the European competition.
Partnering Watson on the wing Alex Tait will be looking to face off against brother Mathew for the eighth time in his 171st Newcastle Falcons appearance.
Simon Hammersley and Michael Young continue at fullback and scrum half respectively while Andy Goode makes his first home start for the club after scoring 14 points in his first two Aviva Premiership appearances in a Falcons shirt.
The Falcons name an unchanged pack from that which was so combative and solid during last weekend’s Ricoh Arena clash, with Bobby Vickers making his 197th club appearance alongside Scotland international Scott Lawson and Tongan international Taione Vea in the front row.
Mark Wilson and Sean Robinson remain as the second row pairing that have been delivering impressive performances that have been a thorn in the side of their opponents, with the Cumbrian in particular performing to a standard that must be catching the eye of Eddie Jones and the England selectors.
The home side’s pack is completed once again by club captain Will Welch, making his 161st Falcons appearance, Tongan captain Nili Latu and Scotland international Ally Hogg donning the 6, 7 and 8 shirts respectively.
The Falcons bench sees 72-times capped Japanese international Kensuke Hatakeyama, fresh from a starring role in this week’s media session, in line to make his first club appearance since moving to the North East less than two weeks ago.
Alex Rogers and George McGuigan provide further front row replacements while Mouritz Botha offers an additional option at second row.
Former Leicester Tiger and Samoan international Alesana Tuilagi is named on the bench for the first time this year after recovering from a hamstring injury and is joined amongst the replacement backs by fellow internationals Tane Takulua (Tonga) and Juan Pablo Socino (Argentina).
After impressing throughout the season, Craig Willis completes the Falcons’ match day squad as replacement Fly Half.
Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers
15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Michael Young, 1 Bobby Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Taione Vea, 4 Mark Wilson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Will Welch (c), 7 Nili Latu, 8 Ally Hogg.
16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Alesana Tuilagi, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Juan Pablo Socino.