Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons LV=Cup preview

Newcastle Falcons head coach, Alan Tait has made thirteen changes for Sunday’s Anglo Welsh LV= Cup clash with Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.

Tait has made a string of changes to the side that beat the Ospreys 18-17 in last week’s LV= Cup opener, with Luke Eves, Luke Fielden and Jimmy Gopperth the most notable absentees.

Alex Tait starts at full back in place of Jeremy Manning who slots in at No. 10 and the Falcons welcome back Michael Tait, Gcobani Bobo and Andrew Henderson to the backline. Chris Pilgrim is replaced by Micky Young at scum half with Will Welch, Redford Pennycook and Tim Swinson promoted from the bench.

“The injuries have taken its toll again and we’re a couple of guys down this week and obviously we’ve got a massive game the week after. Some of the calls were not 50-50 but the likes of Rob Vickers were close to been in the twenty to play. But I said to Rob it’s a long way to travel and it’s a big journey and I wanted him to stay at home because he’ll start against Gloucester.

“There’s been a couple of decisions like that where players need to rest and nurse their niggles rather than push them out this week. This gives some of the other lads an opportunity but this is what this competition is all about for us and it gives some of the other lads a chance, particularly the youngsters,” Tait said.

The Quins stunned reigning Aviva Premiership champions, Leicester last week with an impressive 34-25 victory at Welford Road. And Tait is well aware of the dangers posed by the Londoners who are eying LV= Cup success.

Quins’ Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea has made a number of changes to last Friday’s team, combining a mixture of exciting youth and talent with experience.

After impressing against Cavalieri Prato, Ross Chisholm takes on the full back role. He is joined in the back line by 20 year old Sam Smith (who makes his first competitive start of the season) and George Lowe.

In the centres 20 year-old Tom Casson takes up the Captaincy role, where he will no doubt appreciate the support of fellow centre Ollie Smith. Casson’s fellow England U20 team mate, Rory Clegg will take up the reins at fly-half, combining with scrum-half Dave Moore, who makes his first competitive start in the Quins shirt.

The familiar faces of Joe Marler, Chris Brooker and Mark Lambert link together in the front row, with Ollie Kohn and Pete Browne supporting them in the second row. The back row sees all three players making competitive starts for the club; new signing Maurie Fa’asavalu starts on the blindside and 20 year olds Luke Wallace and Chris York start at open-side flanker and eight respectively.

It is a strong bench, with Joe Gray, Ceri Jones and James Johnston in the front row, George Robson and Tom Guest in the second row and back row, and Karl Dickson, Ben Urdapiletta and Ollie Lindsay-Hague in the backs.

Director of Rugby, Conor O’Shea, says, “On the back of an outstanding performance last week up in Welford Road it is vital we back that up on Sunday.


“We have made a number of changes to the team but are confident that we are really developing the depth within the group and that this team will do a job on Sunday and continue to provide us with the options you need if you are going to compete week in week out in all competitions.”

The Harlequins side boasts 18 English qualified players in the 23 man team.

Match : Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons
Date: Sunday, November 14
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 15:00


Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Tom Casson (capt), 11 George Lowe, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Dave Moore, 8 Chris York, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 5 Pete Browne, 4 Ollie Ko

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