Kieran Brookes returns from suspension for Newcastle Falcons’ penultimate Aviva Premiership clash of the season at London Wasps this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
The England Saxon is one of five changes to the side that succumbed to a narrow 23-18 defeat to high-flying Saracens at Kingston Park a fortnight ago, a result which gave the Falcons a losing bonus point to move themselves eight points clear of bottom side Worcester Warriors.
A new-look front-row has been named for the trip to Adams Park with experienced campaigners Rob Vickers and Scott Lawson packing down alongside tight-head Brookes.
Meanwhile, Argentina international Gonzalo Tiesi makes a welcome return from injury to partner James Fitzpatrick in the centres.
Victory for Newcastle will mathematically secure their top-flight status, while if Worcester fail to win at Saracens the same day, the Kingston Park club will be assured of their safety regardless.
“The boys have trained really well over the last couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to the game,” said Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards.
“Wasps are an excellent side, who are well organised with quality right across the field – we will have to be at our very best in order to get the result that we want,” he added.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 Dom Barrow, 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Mark Wilson
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Harry Spencer, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Lee Smith