Falcons refresh team for opening round of European Rugby Challenge Cup
Newcastle Falcons have announced a team that will feature 21 England Qualified Players as the club’s European Rugby Challenge Cup gets under way on Friday evening against Bucharest Wolves (Kick Off 8pm)
The team shows a total of 14 changes from the squad that won at London Welsh with an excellent balance of youth and experience looking to begin the new-look European competition with a win as the club freshens up its line up.
In the back division, fullback Lee Smith, centres Tom Penny, Chris Harris and wing Tom Catterick all make their first starts of the season while Noah Cato will retain the number 11 jersey he wore in Oxford.
Rory Clegg and Warren Fury will have the opportunity to conduct matters at halfback, in a partnership that has worked well in the Falcons Aviva A League campaign so far this season.
In the pack, a seasoned front row boasting American international Eric Fry, former Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins and England tight head prop Kieran Brookes will be fielded against a side known for impressive power in the scrum.
At lock, England U20 squad member Will Witty steps up to start alongside Dom Barrow while in the back row, Mark Wilson will look to continue his impressive run of performances at number 8 with Dan Temm making his first start of the season at number six.
The captaincy for the game comes from the familiar position of number seven, but will be in the shape of Andy Saull, whose leadership of the A team will be given a chance in the first XV for the first time.
The blend of youth and experience continues to the bench with Rob Vickers, Oliver Tomaszczyk, Richard Mayhew and Simon Hammersley joined in the replacement ranks with David Nelson, Sean Robinson, Andy Davies and Craig Willis.
Tickets for Friday's game are still available by clicking here calling 0871 2266060 or visiting the Kingston Park box office and advance prices remain in force until 5pm on matchday.
Newcastle Falcons team versus Burcharest Wolves
15.Lee Smith, 14. Tom Catterick, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Tom Penny, 11. Noah Cato, 10. Rory Clegg, 9. Warren Fury; 1. Eric Fry, 2. Rob Hawkins, 3. Kieran Brookes, 4. Will Witty, 5. Dom Barrow, 6. Dan Temm, 7. Andy Saull (c), 8. Mark Wilson.
Replacements 16.David Nelson, 17. Rob Vickers, 18. Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19. Sean Robinson, 20. Richard Mayhew, 21. Andy Davies, 22. Craig Willis, 23. Simon Hammersley