Newcastle Falcons v Leeds Carnegie Preview

The Falcons beat Leeds when the two clubs met in February at Headingley Carnegie, and are going for a first season’s double over the Yorkshiremen since season 2005/06.

Leeds won 16-15 on their most recent visit to Kingston Park.

Newcastle Falcons have slipped to three straight defeats in all competitions and will want to avoid defeat to steer clear of propping up the Premiership table for the first time since March 2003.

Leeds Carnegie’s three Aviva Premiership Rugby victories this season have all been at home.

On the road Leeds have a played 8, lost 8 record, and have not won away since they visited London Irish on 18 April 2010.

Newcastle Falcons’ Jeremy Manning will eturn to full-back after the talented Kiwi was carried off on a stretcher during the Falcons magnificent 33-18 triumph over Harlequins, at Kingston Park on 4 March following a heavy collision.

But after a rigorous rehabilitation programme over the past five weeks, the 25-year-old is available for selection for this weekend’s premiership showdown.

Head coach Alan Tait has made four further changes to his starting line-up, as the Scotsman rotates his back division and forward pack. Top try scorer Luke Fielden returns to the right wing, while Alex Tait switches from full-back to the other flank, with Tane Tu’ipulotu occupying inside centre.

Jonny Golding starts in the front row alongside Matt Thompson, with giant Kiwi lock Andrew Van der Heijden partnering Tim Swinson in the engine room. James Hudson misses out through injury as Tait hands New Zealander Jimmy Gopperth the captaincy for this crucial rearranged fixture.

“I really want us to open up and play a fast, attacking game,” said Tait.

“That style of play can be difficult on wetter pitches, but the conditions on Saturday should be perfect. The improved weather will suit us, and we certainly train that way in terms of getting the ball through the hands and looking to attack.”

The northeasterners defeated their West Yorkshire counterparts 22-5 back in February, and Tait acknowledges that tomorrow will be a big test of character for his players, saying: “We are in our own back yard, the boys have been playing some good rugby and we are starting to show that we can live with the top teams in the Aviva Premiership.

“In the past fortnight we have played two really good sides in Saracens and Gloucester, and we have lived with their intensity for an hour or so.

“A little bit of indiscipline has hindered us in the latter stages of those games, but I am sure that if we play how we have been training then we can get the result.

“We beat their A-Team 40-3 up here a fortnight ago, but it was only 5-3 at half-time and they were fighting for every single ball. They were very physical, and they won’t change much for this weekend even though the personnel will be different.”

Match : Newcastle Falcons v Leeds Carnegie
Date : Saturday 9th April 2011
Kick Off: 15:00
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: Andrew Small (54th Premiership game)


Newcastle Falcons :15 Jeremy Manning 14 Luke Fielden 13 Tane Tu’ipulotu 12 Luke Eves 11 Gcobani Bobo 10 Jimmy Gopperth 9 Micky Young 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Redford Pennycook, 6 Will Welch 5 Tim Swinson 4. James Hudson, 3 Euan Murray , 2 Matt Thompson 1 Grant Shiells

Replacements :16Kieran Brookes 17. Micky Ward 18 .Tim Ryan 19 Filipo Levi 20 Mark Wilson 21 Jason Spice 22 James Fitzpatrick 23 Danny Williams

Leeds Carnegie 15 Ceiron Thomas 14 Lee Blackett 13 Henry Fa’afili 12 Scott Barrow 11 Michael Stephenson 10 Lachie Mackay 9 Warren Fury 8 Daniel Browne7 Hendre Fourie 6 Rhys Oakley 5 Marco Wentzel 4 Tom Denton 3 Phil Swainston 2 Steve Thompson 1 Gareth Hardy

Replacements 16 Phil Nilsen 17

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