Team news: Barry and Daniels set for debuts

Friday 20 September 2019

Darren Barry and Mike Daniels make their Newcastle Falcons debuts in Saturday’s season-opening trip to Jersey Reds.

Former Worcester lock Barry (pictured) partners Sean Robinson in the second row for the Championship Cup clash, with ex-Nottingham prop Daniels packing down on the tight-head side.

The Championship Cup sees the Falcons pooled with Jersey, Doncaster Knights and Hartpury University for home-and-away clashes, with the top two in all three groups plus the two best third-placed teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Adam Radwan partners Sinoti Sinoti in a potent wing pairing, Toby Flood starting at inside centre alongside fit-again Tom Penny, who has recovered from ACL surgery on his knee. Joel Hodgson starts at fly-half having missed most of last season through a broken leg, with all but two of the starting XV being English-qualified.

Will Welch skippers the side in the injury-enforced absence of new co-captain George McGuigan, with fellow co-captain Michael Young named on the bench. Newcastle boast a trio of Jersey old boys in their squad, with Gary Graham, Sam Lockwood and Charlie Maddison all having played for the Channel Island club.

Head coach Dave Walder said: “This weekend has been a long time coming, and the signs were there in training three or four weeks ago that the lads were desperate for a game.

“Due to the nature of the season starting late due to the Rugby World Cup we’ve been holding the lads back, but we’re looking forward to unleashing them now and getting our season underway. We spoke during the summer about whether or not to play any friendly games and we just felt the way we’re doing it gives us the best chance of getting promoted, which is our clear goal for the season.

“We’re going over to Jersey to win the game and we want to win the Championship Cup, but promotion is the big focus. We believe three tough cup games will get us right where we need to be for when the league games get underway, and that’s the course we’ve chosen.

“I know the boys will be hanging after the first 15 minutes on Saturday because you can’t really prepare for match intensity in training, as much as you try your best to. We’ve talked about how we’re going to play it to give ourselves the best chance of winning, and it’s a great way to open up the season.”

Aiming to bounce back stronger with promotion to the Premiership at the first attempt, Walder insisted: “Last season has been parked now, and the lessons learned.

“We had a big review as a coaching group which went on for two or three days, acknowledging areas where we maybe took our eye off the ball or let things slip a little bit. From my side we were clear from an attack point of view as to where we went wrong, we’ve corrected that during pre-season and this weekend will be our first real chance to put it against a defence in a competitive match scenario.

“There’ll be different challenges from a coaching perspective as the World Cup guys gradually drip into the squad, but the group who are here have been together for more than three months now. It has been exciting working with a few new faces tied in with guys who are desperate to right the wrongs of last year, and my part is seeing if we can get them all to gel.”

Expecting a stern test against a Reds side who have enjoyed a busy summer, the former England fly-half said: “Jersey are an interesting side who have some very good players, and they seem to have the cup as a bit of a focal point.

“It’s well documented that they went over to Moscow and beat the Russian national team a few weeks back, they’ve had three games now and they’ll probably be a bit more battle-hardened than some of our lads as a result. They’ve gone down the route of having more pre-season games earlier on than us and we always knew this would be a tough opening assignment, but we fly over there with a huge amount of excitement really looking to give a good account of ourselves.

“These three cup games are all matches that we want to win and we’ll be playing very much with that mind-set, but they’re also an opportunity to test out some combinations and find out what works best ahead of our league opener down at London Scottish on October 12.”

Newcastle Falcons’ first home game of the season comes on Sunday September 29 when Doncaster Knights visit Kingston Park. Season ticket memberships are available by clicking here or calling 0871 226 6060, with individual match tickets also on sale.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Jersey Reds (Saturday, 3pm, Stade Santander International)

15 Tom Arscott

14 Adam Radwan

13 Tom Penny

12 Toby Flood

11 Sinoti Sinoti

10 Joel Hodgson

9 Sam Stuart

1 Adam Brocklebank

2 Jamie Blamire

3 Mike Daniels

4 Darren Barry

5 Sean Robinson

6 Will Welch (captain)

7 Gary Graham

8 Callum Chick

Replacements

16 Charlie Maddison

17 Sam Lockwood

18 Rodney Ah You

19 Toby Salmon

20 Simon Uzokwe

21 Michael Young

22 Brett Connon

23 George Wacokecoke

Jersey Reds

15 Auguy Slowik

14 Tom Williams

13 James Newey

12 Mark Best

11 Leroy Van Dam

10 Greg Dyer

9 Luc Jones

1 Harry Morley

2 TJ Harris

3 Alec Clarey

4 Charlie Beckett

5 Rory Bartle

6 Conor Joyce

7 Josh Bainbridge

8 Max Argyle (captain)

Replacements

16 Jack Macfarlane

17 Roy Godfrey

18 Zei Alexis

19 Alex Thompson

20 Jake Upfield

21 Will Homer

22 Brendan Cope

23 George Spencer

Referee: Matt Turvey

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