Scott Lawson returns versus London Irish

Friday 8 January 2016

Stability in selection as Falcons look to build on win against Bath

Newcastle Falcons travel to the Madjeski Stadium with a side showing only two changes from the side that defeated Bath at Kingston Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby round nine.

Both changes come in the pack as the Falcons look to build upon their 19-14 win over Mike Ford’s side and prepare to face an Irish team who have won their previous three matches at home in all competitions.

In an unchanged back-line, Simon Hammersley retains the fullback jersey while Alex Tait and former London Irish academy member Marcus Watson remain on the wings.

Juan Pablo Socino and Chris Harris will again provide the Falcons centre partnership while Michael Young and Craig Willis form the half back pairing, with the latter having kicked 14 of the Falcons’ 19 points in last weekend’s victory over Bath.

In the pack, Rob Vickers continues to close in on his 200th appearance for the club as he remains in at loose-head prop, while the two changes in the side see forty six-times capped Scotland international Scott Lawson come in at hooker and summer signing Paddy Ryan at Tighthead Prop.

In the second row, Mark Wilson and Sean Robinson will continue their second row partnership for a third week, after performing well together against Leicester and Bath.

While there are no changes to the personnel in the back row, all three players have been rotated into different positions for the encounter against the Exiles.

Having shown a real abrasiveness at number eight in recent weeks, Nili Latu moves to the open-side centre berth he made his first appearances at for the club, as Ally Hogg takes to the back of the scrum. Will Welch moves across to the blindside flank as a result, from where he will captain the side.

With Lawson and Ryan having moved into the starting XV the Falcons’ bench includes four changes from last weekend, George McGuigan and Taione Vea taking their place alongside Alex Rogers as front row replacements.

Possibly the most eagerly anticipated of those changes come within the replacement backs though as new signings Andy Goode and Jamie Booth both look to make their first team debuts for the Falcons as replacement Fly Half and Scrum Half respectively.

England international Mouritz Botha will once again provide back up at Lock while USA international Todd Clever provides a further back row option and Argentine international Belisario Agulla completes the Falcons bench.

Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 10th January 2016 - KO 13:00

15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Michael Young, 1 Rob Vickers 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Paddy Ryan, 4 Mark Wilson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Will Welch (C) 7 Nili Latu, 8 Ally Hogg

16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Todd Clever, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Belisario Agulla

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