Team news: Flood skippers Falcons against Bath

Thursday 22 November 2018

Toby Flood makes his 100th appearance for Newcastle Falcons on Friday night when he captains them in their Gallagher Premiership home match with Bath Rugby.

The fly-half skippers the side for the 7.45pm kick-off more than 12 years after his first team debut, the 60-times-capped England international making his first senior appearance back in February 2005.

In all the Falcons show seven changes from the side which started at Harlequins last Friday, fit-again Johnny Williams partnering Chris Harris in the centres after the latter was released from the Scotland squad.

Tom Arscott replaces Alex Tait on the wing, Sam Stuart coming in at scrum-half behind a pack which sees starts for hooker Kyle Cooper, lock Glen Young and Fijian No 8 Nemani Nagusa.

Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “The great thing about this group is that they are very honest and self-critical, everyone is on the same page in terms of how we push forward from last weekend’s defeat at Harlequins and we’re all picking up on the same areas when we identify where we need to improve.

“This week we’ve got a couple of boys back from injury and from national team duty, and we’ll see what happens. Everything is about what happens this Friday, not what happened last week, and the Gallagher Premiership is the best club competition in the world because the big games just keep on coming every single week.

“Bath have lost a few players to England but we’ve got five lads away on international duty ourselves, we’re both still good sides and I’m looking forward to the game. We go into every match saying it’s a ‘must win’, and this one is no different to any other in that respect.”

Losing Johnny Williams just before kick-off last weekend and then seeing Joel Hodgson carried off with a serious injury during the early stages, Richards said: “You can’t make excuses for last week’s poor performance and I’m not going to do that. I thought both teams were poor on the night but we just didn’t control the game, and that’s ultimately why we lost out.

“You expect to have injuries during a season so it’s nothing exceptional in that sense, but to have multiple injuries in key positions, in the warm-up and then again 10 minutes into a game, it’s obviously going to rock the boat.

“I’m just sad for Joel that he has suffered a broken leg at a time when he was playing such good rugby, and he will have his operation tomorrow. Hopefully we will see him out there again before the end of the season, we’ll just have to see how that goes, and we have also lost Tom Penny from our back line with an ACL injury which has just been operated on.”

Looking to extend their unbeaten home streak to four games in all competitions, Richards said: “Getting ourselves into a position from which to launch our attack was a problem last week, which came down to a lack of accuracy on our behalf and allowing them to win that territory battle.

“We scrummaged really well, we dominated there and we were stealing line-outs for fun. There were building blocks within the performance such as the way we defended but we know we need to do more in attack, and we have been working hard on that during the week.”

Tickets for Friday’s game are still available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or from Kingston Park Stadium in person.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Bath Rugby (Friday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Simon Hammersley

14 Tom Arscott

13 Chris Harris

12 Johnny Williams

11 Sinoti Sinoti

10 Toby Flood (captain)

9 Sam Stuart

1 Sam Lockwood

2 Kyle Cooper

3 Jon Welsh

4 Calum Green

5 Glen Young

6 Gary Graham

7 John Hardie

8 Nemani Nagusa

Replacements

16 George McGuigan

17 Adam Brocklebank

18 David Wilson

19 Andrew Davidson

20 Ryan Burrows

21 Michael Young

22 Brett Connon

23 Pedro Bettencourt

Bath Rugby

15 Tom Homer

14 Semesa Rokoduguni

13 Jackson Willison

12 Jamie Roberts

11 Cooper Vuna

10 Freddie Burns

9 Will Chudley

1 Nathan Catt

2 Tom Dunn

3 Henry Thomas

4 Dave Attwood

5 Matt Garvey (captain)

6 Tom Ellis

7 Josh Bayliss

8 Zach Mercer

Replacements

16 Jack Walker

17 Jacques van Rooyen

18 Max Lahiff

19 Luke Charteris

20 Levi Douglas

21 Chris Cook

22 Ruaridh McConnochie

23 Darren Atkins

Referee: Christophe Ridley.

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