Team news: Brown to make debut at Saracens

Friday 8 October 2021

Mike Brown will make his competitive debut for Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they travel to take on Saracens in Gallagher Premiership action.

The two-time Premiership title winner played in the club’s pre-season victories away to Glasgow and Edinburgh, injuring his ribs in the latter.

The 72-times-capped full-back forms part of a side showing five changes from the team which defeated Wasps 18-14 last weekend – the only other change to the back-line seeing Brett Connon come in at fly-half.

Connon and prop Adam Brocklebank recently passed the 50-game mark for the Falcons, a milestone England wing Adam Radwan will reach on Saturday after touching down an incredible 38 tries in his 49 appearances to date.

England team-mate Trevor Davison comes into the side at tight-head prop, fit-again lock Sean Robinson returns to the starting XV while Gary Graham is added into the back-row mix.

Former Saracen Nathan Earle starts on the wing against his former club having made a successful debut last weekend – Newcastle looking to win their third game in a row following a promising start to the campaign.

Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Our morale is good after two wins against Bath and Wasps, although it’s a shame it wasn’t three in a row with the Harlequins game on the first weekend of the season.

“We felt we could have got a little bit more out of that one, but we’re going to Saracens on Saturday with plenty of confidence and belief that we can get the job done.”

Having finally been able to hand Brown his debut, the Falcons boss said: “Mike is someone who really wants to win, and he promotes and demands excellence around him.

“Even without playing he’s been a part of what we’ve done this season just by his influence around the place, and that experience will prove its worth even more now that he’s available to come in and play for us.”

Up against a Saracens side who are playing their first Gallagher Premiership home game since being promoted from the Championship, Richards said: “Saracens will be a major threat, even though they lost last week up at Leicester with the very last play.

“They’ll have a point to prove after coming back up, and after how last weekend’s game at Leicester ended for them. It’s their first proper home game since being promoted and they’re an incredibly tough side to play against.

“It’s no secret what they do, but they’re extremely good at it and it works for them. They’re an extremely well-drilled and efficient side with a host of stars in their ranks, and they’re one of the most dangerous teams in the Premiership.”

With former Saracen Earle lining up against the club with which he began his professional career, Richards added: “I thought Nathan went well for us on his debut last weekend, showing his experience at times.

“During the period when Tom Penny had been sent off he helped us adapt and defend really well, and he worked closely with the boys around him.

“We’re blessed in that area with having guys like Iwan Stephens, who has done extremely well in his two Premiership games, and now Mateo Carreras being back from Argentina duty, plus a host of other boys who can do a great job for us out on the wing.”

Newcastle Falcons team to face Saracens (Saturday, 3pm, StoneX Stadium, live on BT Sport 2)

15 Mike Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Marco Fuser, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Gary Graham, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Callum Chick.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 Josh Basham, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Will Haydon-Wood, 23 George Wacokecoke.

Saracens: 15 Max Malins, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Dom Morris, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Aled Davies; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Marco Riccioni, 4 Callum Hunter-Hill, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Sean Reffell, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Alex Goode, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Referee: Ian Tempest.

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