Newcastle v Worcester Premiership Preview

Newcastle Falcons have named Gonzalo Tiesi to captain their team in Sunday’s crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Worcester Warriors at Kingston Park

Argentina international centre Tiesi, who penned a new deal on Tyneside earlier this week, leads out the Falcons in the absence of the injured Will Welch.

Mark Wilson makes a welcome return to the back-row, replacing Welch, while there are two changes in the backline with scrum-half Warren Fury and winger Sinoti Sinoti handed starts.

After impressing in Newcastle’s late fight-back at Gloucester Rugby last weekend, Welshman Fury gets the nod ahead of Mike Blair who drops to the bench.

Samoan flyer Sinoti returns from an ankle injury and comes in for Zach Kibirige whose season has been cut short by a broken leg sustained at Kingsholm last week.

“If you look at the last five to six weeks with the ground firming up, we have played some outstanding rugby,” said director of rugby Dean Richards.

Newcastle Falcons have lost their last eleven Aviva Premiership Rugby matches but at least gained two leaguepoints in their most recent defeat at Gloucester, and gaining a first try bonus point in the tournament since they visited Sale in March 2009.

Newcastle’s only victory at Kingston Park in the Premiership this season came against London Irish in round 6.

Worcester Warriors have lost 22 successive Premiership matches since beating Wasps at Sixways on 1st March 2013 – their only victory in the tournament since December 2012.

The Warriors have triumphed just once away from home in the Premiership since season 2008/09: 6-0 at Wasps on New Year’s Day 2012.

Newcastle gained their first victory over Worcester since 2009 when they met at Sixways in round 5, and are going for a first ever season’s double over the Warriors.

Worcester’s only previous victory at Kingston Park came on their first ever visit in April 2005, although they have drawn two of their last three fixtures at the venue, both with a 16-all scoreline.

Worcester Warriors have made one change with Rob O’Donnell stepping in for Euan Murray, who misses the game due to religious reasons. Loan signing Jerome Schuster is named among the replacements.

Schuster could make his Warriors debut after joining the club from Leicester Tigers last month.

The front-row sees Ofa Fainga’anuku and Agustin Creevy line-up alongside O’Donnell, whilst James Percival and Mariano Galarza make-up the second-row.

Mike Williams keeps his position at six next to Sam Betty and skipper Jonathan Thomas in the back-row.

Jonny Arr remains scrum-half with Ryan Lamb at stand-off and Ravai Fatiaki and Alex Grove in the centre.

Josh Drauniniu and David Lemi occupy the wings with Chris Pennell at full-back.

Director of Rugby Dean Ryan said: “The pressure is on us because we are going into a game where we can’t afford to lose because if we do that’s pretty much it.”

“The team has progressed massively. We can see tangible differences from what we were seeing several months ago. They are giving their all.”

“There is a real clear buy-in to the team ethos that we are trying to build.”

“Schuster has been great around the squad. We lost John Andress and we always knew Euan Murray would be called-up for international action and that he wouldn’t be available on Sundays.”

“The 23 that you see are pretty much going to be in the 23 every week. We just have to get them fresh enough and in the right space to give each game a go.”

Match : Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors
Date : Sunday 30th March
Venue : Kingston Park,
Kick Off : 2pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
: Tim Wig

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