Team news: Falcons side to face Harlequins

Friday 11 June 2021

Captain Mark Wilson plays his 150th Gallagher Premiership game on Saturday when Newcastle Falcons conclude their season away to Harlequins.

The flanker forms part of a side showing just one personnel change from last weekend’s 24-14 home win over Worcester Warriors – Mateo Carreras replacing fellow Argentinean Matias Orlando in a move which sees George Wacokecoke switching from wing to centre.

Saturday’s squad includes all five players who were yesterday called up into England’s training squad, with Adam Radwan, Sean Robinson, Trevor Davison, Callum Chick and Jamie Blamire all involved in the match-day 23.

Having won their last three home games Newcastle are now looking to take that form on the road, with the added incentive of trying to claim Heineken Champions Cup rugby for next season should they finish in the top eight.

“That’s somewhere that we and the players aspire to be, and we still think that there’s a chance,” said director of rugby Dean Richards.

“There are three teams who can impact that, and we need to leapfrog two of them. Our end of the bargain is to go down to Quins and get a victory, realistically also needing a bonus point, and that’s the bit we can control.

“Whatever happens elsewhere is out of our hands, so we’ll just focus on our job and hope that the rest falls into place.”

Buoyed by some of the rugby played by his team during last Saturday’s bonus-point victory over Worcester, Richards said: “We played well for the first 30 minutes, scored three good tries during that time and then took our foot off the gas a little bit.

“That affected our accuracy and made things a little bit more difficult, but we managed to get the fourth try for a bonus point before conceding a couple right at the end. That was annoying, but probably just reflected the nature of the game in that it became a little bit loose.

“I was delighted with parts of it, though, and I think that first half-hour was probably the most accurate rugby we’ve played all season. We created some great opportunities, took them well and it was great to be able to do that in front of our own supporters.

“We’ve won our last three at home, which gives us enormous pride, and now we have a great opportunity to round off the season on a really positive note at Harlequins on Saturday.”

The Londoners have already secured their place in the Premiership’s top four, but Richards – a former Harlequins boss himself – does not expect any let-up.

“Quins will go strong because they’ll want to give the bulk of their semi-final team a run-out before they move into the play-offs,” he said.

“It’s not going to be an easy encounter – it never is down there – but we’ve still got that eighth place to play for and the prospect of Champions Cup rugby which comes with it.”

Newcastle Falcons team to face Harlequins (Saturday, 3pm, Twickenham Stoop, live on BT Sport Extra 3)

15 Joel Hodgson

14 Adam Radwan

13 George Wacokecoke

12 Luther Burrell

11 Mateo Carreras

10 Brett Connon

9 Louis Schreuder

1 Adam Brocklebank

2 George McGuigan

3 Trevor Davison

4 Greg Peterson

5 Sean Robinson

6 Will Welch

7 Mark Wilson (captain)

8 Callum Chick

Replacements

16 Jamie Blamire

17 Kyle Cooper

18 Rodney Ah You

19 Philip van der Walt

20 Carl Fearns

21 Michael Young

22 Pete Lucock

23 Alex Tait

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Wilco Louw , 4 Matt Symons, 5 Dino Lamb, 6 Tom Lawday, 7 Jack Kenningham, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain).

Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Luke Northmore, 23 Cadan Murley.

Referee: Christophe Ridley.

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