Ally Hogg captains Falcons for visit to Northampton Wanderers as "Monday Night Footy" returns
Newcastle Falcons get their Aviva A League season underway this evening with a trip to Franklins Gardens, as the take on Northampton Wanderers.
Joining Gloucester, Leicester, Northampton, Sale and Worcester in the Northern Conference, the Falcons side made it through to the semi finals of the tournament in 2014/15, after fielding a squad that called upon a mix of the club’s best young talent and senior squad members.
For the first game of the new campaign, Academy Manager Mark Laycock and Head Coach James Ponton, have selected a team which embraces that philosophy.
In a threatening back line, Simon Hammersley takes to the field as he continues to return to fitness after picking up a knock at the start of November, while young winger Dan Marshall, who impressed during the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s and Kings of the North tournament in the summer, takes the right wing shirt.
Joining them in the backline, Andy Tuilagi and Belisario Agulla form the centre partnership for the evening, while Alesana Tuilagi takes to the left wing.
After a composed and assured performance against CA Brive Correze and a cameo appearance in the 55-7 win over Enisei STM, Craig Willis will orchestrate the team from fly half, with Sonatane Takulua providing the service from Scrum Half.
In the pack, summer signings Ben Harris and Paddy Ryan will pack down with Rob Hawkins in the front row, while Seb Ferreira and Glen Young form a a youthful second row pairing.
Young has been in a good run of form for Doncaster Knights in recent weeks, including bagging a try in a comfortable 22-5 win in the British & Irish Cup against Connacht Eagles last weekend.
Across the back row, Ally Hogg captains the team from number eight, while Callum Chick and Joe Craggs take to the blind and openside flanks respectively.
On the replacements bench, David Nelson, Eric Fry and Andrew Foster provide front row options while Josh Williams and Santiago Socino provide further forward cover.
After making his Aviva Premiership debut off the bench in round two against the Northampton Saints, Ruaridh Dawson takes the 21 shirt, with Brett Connon and Joe Luca Smith completing the line up.
Speaking before departing for Northampton, Academy Manager Mark Laycock said: “We’ve announced an exciting team for the game that is a total blend of genuine experience and young lads looking to hold their hands up.”
“There are players in there like Paddy Ryan, Josh Williams and Joe Luca Smith making their first appearances for the club, Callum Chick, Seb Ferreria and Dan Marshall who are continuing their developments and Rob Hawkins, Ally Hogg and Simon Hammersley who are in need of a run out.”
“Playing Northampton at Franklins Gardens is a tough start to the A League, but were looking forward to it.”