Will Witty returns to the side

Three changes for Wasps clash

Thursday 29 December 2016

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes to their side ahead of Friday night’s Aviva Premiership visit of Wasps to Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).

Will Witty replaces Evan Olmstead after the Canadian suffered an injury in the Christmas Eve trip to Saracens, Callum Chick making way for Tongan international Opeti Fonua after receiving a knock in the same game. The only other change to the side from the 21-6 defeat comes at outside centre, where Belisario Agulla replaces Fred Burdon.

Hoping his side can kick on from a promising performance last time out, director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We missed out on a few points down at Saracens. We didn’t get the rub of the green from the referee, but we’ve got to look at ourselves and make sure we’re accurate about our own business.

“For large parts of the game we were, but just going into that critical area we didn’t quite nail it. That’s what we’ve been talking about this week, and what we’ve been trying to sort out on the training field. As much as we got close we didn’t have the accuracy to get over the line sometimes.”

Friday’s match forms the middle of a three-game run against the top teams in the Aviva Premiership, with in-form Wasps topping the division’s try count.

Richards said: “Wasps are no slouches, and their try-count is huge each game this season. They’ve got a lot of line-breakers and it does make a big difference, hence why they’re in that top two or three.

“They score a lot of tries. Defensively they leak a lot of points, but at the same time their objective each game is to outscore the opposition, and score as many points as they possibly can. They’re doing that at this moment in time.

“They’re a good side packed with stars from all over the place. They’ll be a difficult nut to crack but, having said that, we’re pretty confident in the way we’re playing at the moment. We’re playing good rugby and enjoying ourselves as well. We’re on the up, which is nice.”

Going into the game placed ninth in the table and having already won as many games as they did over the whole of the last league season, Richards added: “We’re a bit disappointed in some respects.

“We thought we could have got something out of last weekend’s game at Saracens, and there were a couple of results earlier in the season we felt we could have got something out of the games as well. Another five, six points and we’d have felt a little bit more in tune with where we feel we are.

“But it’s not about what’s happened, it’s about what’s going to happen over the next six months. We’re on the up, we’re improving, we’re shaping and playing some good rugby. For us it starts this Friday against Wasps. We’re going to go out there, give it our all and see what happens. We have the best home crowd around, we are playing with lots of ambition and this is a game everyone is really looking forward to.”

Tickets for Friday night are available by calling 0871 226 6060, visiting the Kingston Park Stadium box office in person or by clicking here.

The game will be preceded by an under-18s match between Newcastle Falcons and Yorkshire Carnegie, which kicks off at 4pm. Fans can watch this game from the East Stand on production of a valid match ticket. Post-match there is free curry in the 1877 Bar, with live music in the West Stand concourse bar and DJ/karaoke in the Tap & Tackle.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Wasps

15 Alex Tait

14 Vereniki Goneva

13 Belisario Agulla

12 Juan Pablo Socino

11 Marcus Watson

10 Joel Hodgson

9 Sonatane Takulua

1 Rob Vickers

2 Scott Lawson

3 Jon Welsh

4 Calum Green

5 Will Witty

6 Ally Hogg

7 Mark Wilson (captain)

8 Opeti Fonua

Replacements

16 Ben Sowrey

17 Ben Harris

18 David Wilson

19 Tyrone Holmes

20 Will Welch

21 Sam Egerton

22 Craig Willis

23 Dominic Waldouck

Wasps

15 Rob Miller

14 Christian Wade

13 Elliot Daly

12 Kyle Eastmond

11 Josh Bassett

10 Danny Cipriani

9 Dan Robson

1 Matt Mullan (captain)

2 Tommy Taylor

3 Marty Moore

4 Matt Symons

5 James Gaskell

6 Thomas Young

7 Guy Thompson

8 Nathan Hughes

Replacements

16 Ashley Johnson

17 Tom Bristow

18 Phil Swainston

19 Will Rowlands

20 Alex Rieder

21 Joe Simpson

22 Jimmy Gopperth

23 Guy Armitage

Referee: Tom Foley

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