Newcastle Falcons have made ten changes for tomorrow’s pivotal Round 5 Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Brive at Kingston Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
Victory for either side will all but seal a place in the quarter-finals and Falcons boss Dean Richards has named a strong side for the visit of the French Top 14 outfit.
Skipper Will Welch replaces Andy Saull at openside flanker, while Richard Mayhew comes in for Mark Wilson in the back-row and Chris York starts at No.8. Sean Tomes gets the nod in the engine room alongside Scott MacLeod, with an unchanged front-row taking the field.
Meanwhile, Richards has rung the changes in the backline with promising teenage winger Zach Kibirige handed a start. The Teesside flyer, who is a product of Newcastle’s academy, has three tries to his name in this season’s competition including a brace during a man-of-the-match display away to Cammi Rugby Calvisano in Round 4.
Tom Catterick pulls on the No.15 jersey, while fellow local talent James Fitzpatrick partners Adam Powell in the centres. Former RGS pupil Joel Hodgson occupies the fly-half berth alongside scrum-half Warren Fury.
“It’s going to be an extremely physical contest and they always are when you face French teams,” said director of rugby Richards.
“There’s a quarter-final place at stake tomorrow night, and when you reach this stage of the competition everyone is desperate to progress through to the knockout phases.
“It promises to be a high-intensity game tomorrow night, and with a number of players getting their chance in the team, it’s a great opportunity for them to show what they can do,” he added.
Tickets for the game are still available by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Chris York
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 James Hallam, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Andy Saull, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Noah Cato