Will Welch returns as captain for tomorrow’s Aviva Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at The Salford City Stadium (kick-off 8pm).
Welch, who missed last weekend’s Premiership opener at home to Bath Rugby, is one of five changes as the Falcons look to secure their first win of the campaign.
Jamie Helleur is ruled out with concussion sustained against Bath last week with Adam Powell replacing the Samoan at inside centre. Meanwhile Oliver Tomaszczyk comes into the front-row alongside hooker Matt Thompson who returns from illness. Second-row Fraser McKenzie rounds off the changes to make his debut against his former employers.
“Sale are a very unified side and they work for each other so they will challenge us in every aspect of the game,” said Falcons boss Dean Richards.
“It was a surprise result for them to win down at Gloucester, but I think it heightens our awareness of what they are about. They are a very physical side who are comfortable in all sorts of conditions, and they have a top draw team in terms of their willingness to play rugby.
“Some of their scores at the weekend were outstanding and it’s going to be a difficult game for us. We’ve worked on the things that didn’t quite go according to plan last week, and we’ve worked even more on the positives that came out of the game.
“For us it’s about working hard for one another and making sure we make the right decisions, and I firmly believe that we have the players to do that.”
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Franck Montanella, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Dom Barrow, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Carlo del Fava, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick