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English Premiership club Newcastle Falcons have made 10 changes to their side to play Cardiff Blues on Friday in the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup at Kingston Park.
Director of Rugby Dean Richards has started bringing his bigger named players back as they begin to gear up for the return of Aviva Premiership action in a week’s time.
Alex Tait, Noah Cato, Gonzalo Tiesi, Adam Powell all make welcome returns in the backline, having been rested during the previous European Rugby Challenge Cup and LV= Cup fixtures, while Alex Tuilagi makes his second consecutive start on the wing he occupied during last weekend’s trip to Northampton Saints.
Ruki Tipuna and Juan Pablo Socino will be bringing their usual high tempo partnership as they pair up in the half backs for the first time in a month, coming in for Mike Blair and Rory Clegg respectively.
In the forwards, on loan prop Alex Rogers makes his first start for the Falcons at loose head prop while Rob Vickers moves into the Hooker position, replacing Rob Hawkins who pulled out of the Northampton match prior to kick off.
Young English tight head Scott Wilson remains in the number three jersey, while Calum Green and Dom Barrow combine in the second row.
Enforced changes in the back row provide Richard Mayhew and Andy Saull the opportunity to start, with Saull taking on the captaincy with Will Welch sidelined through injury, while the base of the scrum is once again steered by Cumbrian number 8 Mark Wilson.
On the bench, George Mcguigan, David Nelson and Oliver Tomaszczyk provide the front row cover while Scott Macleod and Chris York complete the forward replacements.
Meanwhile, Garyn Smith, Harry Davies and Jevon Groves will all make their debuts for Cardiff Blues when the region launches its LV= Cup bid.
The trio are all handed first-ever senior outings for Blues in a team captained by Ellis Jenkins that contains a mix of youth and experience.
A total of 16 players out of the match day squad are products of the Academy at Blues with centre Smith paired alongside Lucas Amorosino in midfield – the Argentine the sole survivor from the side that faced Munster last weekend.
“Like any English Premiership side, they are always physical up front and, from watching the footage, they have got strike power in the back line too. They also have a good tactical kicking game,” said Coach Andi Kyriacou, who himself enjoyed a playing stint in England with Saracens.
“I have been up to Newcastle many times as a player and it’s a very tough place to go. We have got to prepare mentally for the challenge ahead.
“Reading in the media, they look like they are going to go pretty loaded with their team selection. They see it as a prequel for their next Premiership game so it’s a good challenge for us and we will rise to it.”
Match : Newcastle vs Cardiff Blues
Date : 7/11/14
Venue : Kingston Park
Kick Off : 20:00 GMT
Live on: N/A
Referee: John Meredith (England)
Assistant referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England), Gordon Goodliffe (England)
Timekeeper: David Hudson (England)
Assessor: Martin Fox (England)
15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Alex Tuilagi, 10 Juan Pablo Socino, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Andy Saull (c), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Calum Green, 3 Scott Wilson, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Alex Rogers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 David Nelson, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Scott Macleod, 20 Chris York, 21 Mike Blair, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Chris Harris.
15 Dan Fish, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Lucas Amorosino,
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