Dean Richards has made three changes to the side that narrowly lost to Harlequins last week for this Sunday’s Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton Saints at Kingston Park (kick-off 3pm).
Scotland hooker Scott Lawson, who starts tomorrow’s Six Nations showdown against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, is replaced by Matt Thompson, while Oliver Tomaszczyk comes in for Kieran Brookes at tighthead.
Ally Hogg returns at No.8 as part of a reshuffled back-row which sees Mark Wilson move to blindside flanker and skipper Will Welch to openside. Andy Saull is ruled out through injury.
“It’s great to be returning to Kingston Park for Aviva Premiership Rugby again, and I’m looking forward to the challenge that Northampton will bring,” said Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Richards.
“We have a big fortnight ahead of us with back-to-back home matches against Northampton and Leicester Tigers, and it will be a big test for the lads.
“We have acquitted ourselves well in the last couple of weeks at Bath Rugby and Harlequins, and we have been very competitive in both games so we know that we can do it.
“It’s just a case of going out there against Northampton and showing what we are capable of,” he added.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Adam Powell