The England Saxons squad has been announced ahead of their match against Scotland A at Kingston Park on Friday 1 February (kick-off 8pm).
A string of household names including Charlie Sharples, Kyle Eastmond, Ugo Monye, Christian Wade and former Falcons players Phil Dowson and Tom Biggs have all been named in the squad as the North East gears up for the high profile international.
“We are delighted to be hosting the England Saxons against Scotland A match, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase international rugby in the North East,” said chief executive Paul Varley.
He added: “It promises to be a special night at Kingston Park, and I encourage the North East and Cumbria public to really get behind the game.”
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “There’s some real quality in the England Saxons squad, and I’m sure the rugby on show will be entertaining.
“For Kingston Park to be staging the England Saxons match is great for the area and it will be a memorable night for the region.”
As well as the Saxons squad, the Senior Elite Player Squad has been unveiled with head coach Stuart Lancaster admitting there were some difficult decisions to be made.
He said: “The fact that we have spent significant time deliberating over quite a few players shows how tough the competition is to get into this 65 and the strength in depth that is emerging. We have made some changes to both squads and we feel that reflects the players’ form during the first half of the season.
“There will be undoubtedly be movement between the two squads as we go through the RBS 6 Nations and that was evident in the QBE Internationals, with players in form pushing through such as Freddie Burns, Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola.
“This is a very important year for England, with the Six Nations and the Saxons games to look forward to so there are some great opportunities for the players to demonstrate their club form at international level.
“The summer tour to Argentina will also be a great chance for those players pushing for a place, especially with some of our senior squad hopefully going with the Lions, and chances will undoubtedly arise as we hope to play two midweek games as well as the two Tests.”
The Senior squad will attend a training camp at West Park Leeds RFC between Sunday, January 20 and Friday, January 25 before meeting up at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot on Sunday, January 27 to prepare for England’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, February 2 (kick-off 4pm).
The Saxons will meet up on Monday, January 21 at Surrey Sports Park ahead of their match against the 02 Ireland Wolfhounds in Galway on Friday, January 25 (kick-off 7.35pm).
Tickets for the game are available by clicking here or by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.
Forwards: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Will Fraser (Saracens), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), Shaun Knight (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), David Plaice (London Irish), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), George Robson (Harlequins), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)
Backs: Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby), Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Tom Biggs (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (London Wasps), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Lowe (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)