Newcastle Falcons have rung the changes for this Sunday’s Round 3 Amlin Challenge Cup encounter with Cammi Rugby Calvisano at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).
No fewer than 12 new faces come into the side with a mixture of youth and experience getting the chance to shine on the European pedestal.
And with seven of the starting XV, products of the Falcons academy, this weekend’s clash will be an intriguing fixture for many on Tyneside.
Grant Shiells, George McGuigan and exciting teenage tighthead Scott Wilson start in the front-row, with the trio having each come through the club’s academy system.
Fellow home-grown talents Sean Tomes and Harrison Collins get the nod at second-row and blindside flanker respectively.
Meanwhile in the backline Teesside flyer Zach Kibirige starts on the wing, while there is a new half-back and centre partnership.
Scrum-half Warren Fury and fly-half Rory Clegg get their chance to impress with centres James Fitzpatrick and Alex Crockett coming into the side.
Fraser McKenzie retains his place in the engine room, while Andy Saull gets a recall to the team following back-to-back outings for Tynedale as part of his rehabilitation programme.
Chris York rounds off the changes at No.8 as the North East club aim to seal top spot in Pool 3 ahead of the return clash in Italy next week.
“Calvisano are a side that have nothing to lose, and will be a tough proposition for the lads,” said Richards.
“They will come here and play with very little structure which in itself can pose a problem but can also be a positive for us,” added Richards.
With a string of starlets in the mix this week, Richards said: “We will blood a lot of these boys over the next couple of weeks with a view to perhaps using them during the Premiership as well because most of them are that good.
Tickets are still available for the game by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Noah Cato, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Alex Crockett (c), 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 6 Harrison Collins, 7 Andy Saull, 8 Chris York
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Gary Strain, 19 Will Welch, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Alex Tait