Preview: Newcastle v Bath

Newcastle Falcons have made six changes to their side ahead of Sunday’s Guinness Premiership clash against Bath at Kingston Park.

Four of the six come in the pack where a new front row of Jon Golding, Matt Thompson and Micky Ward replaces last week’s combination of Joe McDonnell, Andy Long and David Wilson, who all lie in wait on the bench.

Andy Perry takes the place of Jason Oakes at lock in the only other change to the pack, while at scrum half Lee Dickson replaces James Grindal and Dutchman Tim Visser comes in at outside centre in place of Adam Dehaty.

The Falcons will be aiming to keep their proud home run going against a Bath side who are the only club to have beaten Newcastle at Kingston Park in the past 50 weeks.

“Bath have by far the best record of any side at Kingston Park in recent years, they are the only team to have won here inside the last year and this will be a huge battle undoubtedly,” said Director of Rugby John Fletcher.

“They are a good side playing some okay rugby, and under Steve Meehan you can see the Aussie influence with the way they play pretty flat and certain other aspects of their approach.

“In the past people have probably said Bath are just a big heavy pack. Yes, they do have that up their sleeve, but they also like to move the ball and we’re not going in to this weekend with a stereotype view of them.”

More to follow…

Form: Newcastle Falcons have been defeated just once at Kingston Park since 3 November 2006, 12-20 against Bath in the Guinness Premiership on 27 April 2007. Bath have won their last three matches in the Guinness Premiership, but have not won four in a row in the competition since March-April 2005. Bath have won the last five encounters between the two clubs since the Falcons last victory: 33-18 at the Rec in September 2004. Bath have won on four of their last five visits to Kingston Park.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Matthew Burke (c), 14 Tom May, 13 Tim Visser, 12 Joe Shaw, 11 John Rudd, 10 Steve Jones, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Russell Winter, 7 Brent Wilson, 6 Geoff Parling, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Andy Perry, 3 Micky Ward, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Joe McDonnell, 18 David Wilson, 19 Jason Oakes, 20 Eni Gesinde, 21 James Grindal, 22 Adam Dehaty.

Bath: tbc

Date: Sunday 21 October, 2007
Kick off: 14:00 BST (13:00 GMT)
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: Rob Debney
Touch judges: Steve Terheege, Alan Hughes
Assessor: Colin High
Television match official: David Warren, David Matthews


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