Evan Olmstead

Olmstead back to face Harlequins on Sunday

Friday 2 December 2016

Evan Olmstead returns from international duty as Newcastle Falcons make three changes for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership visit of Harlequins to Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

The Canadian lock comes is put into the side after starting all three of his country’s autumn internationals against Romania, Ireland and Samoa, replacing the suspended Calum Green.

Alex Tait’s positional switch to the wing sees Mike Delany coming into the side at full-back, Fred Burdon making his first Aviva Premiership start after impressing from the bench during last Friday’s 22-16 victory at Northampton.

Mark Wilson once again captains the side, scrum-half Sonatane Takulua named on the bench after the Tongan slotted the winning penalty for his country in last weekend’s victory over Italy.

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards insisted his side had gained confidence from last week’s second away win of the season, but that it would not be allowed to translate into complacency on Sunday.

“We had a good win down at Gloucester and now we can add Northampton to that list - our away form is improving and the boys are in a good place,” he said.

“Training has been good. The boys have had smiles on their faces, and deservedly so, but they are looking forward to Sunday rather than what they did last week. When you are playing a good side like Harlequins you can’t show any degree of complacency, because they are a side who love to play rugby. On a surface like we have up here it will be an exciting game, whatever happens.”

Richards, himself a former Harlequins boss, said of the London side: “Quins play a lot more ball-in-hand rugby than we faced last week.

“Their back-row is pretty good, their back line is outstanding and their front five is developing. In that respect they will be a hard team to beat – especially if we give them opportunities. For us the objective is to go out, restrict their playing opportunities and capitalise on our own.

“The boys are in a good place. We are looking forward to Sunday’s game, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation because Harlequins are a good side. They have people like Jamie Roberts back, Nick Evans, James Chisholm, Luke Wallace and Jack Clifford in the back-row, and that makes it a really quick unit. Tim Visser on one wing, he is one of a number of outstanding players for them and it makes it a difficult game, but it is an exciting challenge and the boys are on fire at the moment. Hopefully we will come away with the victory.”

With last week’s match-winner Vereniki Goneva handed another start in a side containing a host of young, local players, Richards added: “We have said all along we want to give our younger guys that exposure. Sometimes it’s difficult to find that opportunity, but the one thing we’re not afraid to do is drop them in if need be. It will be the same this week as it was last.

“In terms of Niki, he is a huge asset. It’s no wonder people regard him as one of the best finishers in the world, the way he took that try at the end last week. He didn’t break stride, he stepped Ben Foden on a half-tackle and continued with the same kind of speed, and it was outstanding to finish it the way he did.”

Tickets for Sunday’s game are available by calling 0871 226 6060 or by clicking here. Supporters can enjoy FREE curry 30 minutes after the final whistle in the 1877 Bar, which is situated on the first floor of the East Stand.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Harlequins (Sunday, 3pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Mike Delany

14 Vereniki Goneva

13 Fred Burdon

12 Juan Pablo Socino

11 Alex Tait

10 Joel Hodgson

9 Michael Young

1 Rob Vickers

2 Scott Lawson

3 David Wilson

4 Evan Olmstead

5 Will Witty

6 Callum Chick

7 Mark Wilson (captain)

8 Ally Hogg

Replacements

16 Ben Sowrey

17 Alex Rogers

18 Jon Welsh

19 Opeti Fonua

20 Nick Civetta

21 Sonatane Takulua

22 Marcus Watson

23 Dominic Waldouck

Referee: Ian Tempest

Harlequins team

15 Aaron Morris

14 Alofa Alofa

13 Joe Marchant

12 Jamie Roberts

11 Tim Visser

10 Tim Swiel

9 Karl Dickson

1 Mark Lambert

2 Rob Buchanan

3 Will Collier

4 Charlie Matthews

5 James Horwill (captain)

6 James Chisholm

7 Luke Wallace

8 Jack Clifford

Replacements

16 Dave Ward

17 Owen Evans

18 Adam Jones

19 George Merrick

20 George Naoupu

21 Charlie Mulchrone

22 Ruaridh Jackson

23 Charlie Walker

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