Experienced international Mike Blair returns to the starting line-up for this Sunday’s Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester Rugby at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).
The Newcastle Falcons No.9, who joined the club during the summer, is one of four changes to the side that locked horns with Leicester Tigers last weekend.
Blair replaces Warren Fury, while there is a new-look front-row with hooker Matt Thompson and tighthead Oliver Tomaszczyk getting the nod alongside Franck Montanella. Ally Hogg starts at No.8 in place of Chris York, who drops to the bench.
Head coach Peter Russell is relishing this weekend’s tussle with the Cherry and Whites, a side who travel to the North East on the back of their last gasp victory over Northampton Saints at Kingsholm.
“We are very much looking forward to the visit of Gloucester, and I know the boys are itching to bounce back from the Leicester game,” said Russell.
He added: “We didn’t front up last week, and it’s time for the boys to redeem themselves against a talented Gloucester side.
“They [Gloucester] can move the ball from side to side at speed, and they have quality throughout their squad. They have leaders across the backline and good decision makers – I know we’ve got our work cut out, but I know that we’re up for the scrap.”
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 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Franck Montanella, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 Dom Barrow, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Scott MacLeod, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Alex Crockett