Sam Lockwood starts at loose-head prop

Team news: Falcons name side to face Brive

Thursday 29 March 2018

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is expecting a full-blooded encounter when French club Brive visit Kingston Park in Friday’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final (kick-off 8pm).

The winner of the Kingston Park Stadium clash will face Irish province Connacht or English club Gloucester in the semi-finals on the weekend of April 20/21/22, Richards determined to land some silverware after a season of progress from the Premiership’s most northerly club.

“This is the business end of the year, and it’s the time I really loved as a player and still love as a coach,” said the Falcons boss.

“It’s when you’re playing to get into semi-finals, finals, jockeying for those positions at the top of the league, and we’re right in that mix. The disappointment for me was that we let one slip at Exeter in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals, and I’m still smarting from that. We’ve now got a chance to put that right to some degree by reaching a European semi-final.”

The 13 meetings between Newcastle and Brive down the years have provided six wins each and a single draw, the Falcons winning all six of their group games this season after home-and-away victories over Bordeaux-Begles, Dragons and Enisei-STM.

“It’s going to be another big game against a side with good players, regardless of their league position,” said Richards, with Brive currently engaged in a battle for top-flight survival in the French Top 14.

“I think it will be really competitive, they’ve just changed their coaching set-up and with that often comes a change in direction. You get that bit of a backlash from the players in that scenario and they’ll be coming over here wanting to prove a point.

“Brive will want to go through to the semi-finals, as we do, and this is the only silverware available to them. They obviously have the goal of remaining in the Top 14, which they’ll have one eye on, but they’ll also be looking at us and trying to pick holes. I’ve got no doubt they’ll be going all-out to win, regardless of still needing to secure that survival in their own domestic league, and it will be an incredibly difficult match.

“Brive are a confrontational side in and around the breakdown just as France were against England in the Six Nations, and when you couple that with the fact we have an Irish referee who will allow a contest at the breakdown, it’s going to be a bruising day for the forwards. Fingers crossed we will come out on top.”

Going into Friday’s 8pm kick-off on the back of last weekend’s historic victory over Northampton at St James’ Park in front of a club record home crowd of 30,174, Richards added: “I thought the atmosphere was unbelievable, the best I’ve experienced at a rugby match in a long, long time.

“You couple that with a tight game where it could have been anybody’s right up until the last minute, the drama of the whole day, and it just had a bit of everything.

“There’s always a danger of guys getting wrapped up in last week and everything that went around it, but from my side the statement is that they better not be.

“If I’m totally honest I thought we took our eye off the ball a little bit down at Exeter in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final, and they better not make that same mistake twice. It’s as simple as that, and I don’t think they will do. We’ve got a point to prove because we went down to Exeter with a really good team and we didn’t perform, and we can’t afford to make the same mistake twice.”

Tickets for Friday’s game are available by clicking here or calling 0871 226 6060. Season ticket members are reminded that this game is not included on their 2017-18 package, and that they need to purchase a match ticket. Seasonal car park passes, however, are valid.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Brive (Friday, 8pm, Kingston Park Stadium, live on Sky Sports)

15 Simon Hammersley

14 Alex Tait

13 Chris Harris

12 Josh Matavesi

11 Zach Kibirige

10 Toby Flood

9 Sam Stuart

1 Sam Lockwood

2 Scott Lawson

3 Scott Wilson

4 Calum Green

5 Sean Robinson

6 Ryan Burrows

7 Will Welch (captain)

8 Nili Latu

Replacements

16 Santiago Socino

17 Rob Vickers

18 Trevor Davison

19 Will Witty

20 Callum Chick

21 Joel Hodgson

22 Adam Radwan

23 Tom Penny

Brive

15 Thomas Laranjeira

14 Guillaume Namy

13 Felix Le Bourhis

12 Seremaia Burotu

11 Sevanaia Galala

10 Nicolas Bezy

9 Florian Cazenave

1 Julien Brugnaut

2 Francois Da Ros

3 Soso Bekoshvili

4 Johan Snyman

5 Jan Uys

6 Said Hireche (captain)

7 Retief Marais

8 Etienne Herjean

Replacements

16 Thomas Aquier

17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga

18 James Johnston

19 Peet Marais

20 Julien Le Devedec

21 Vasil Lobzhanidze

22 Arnaud Mignardi

23 Franck Romanet

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

Latest Gallery

Become A Junior Falcon

Win the Jackpot