Newcastle Falcons v Exeter Chiefs Premiership Preview

Newcastle Falcons host Saracens at Kingston Park

Newcastle Falcons have named a new look starting side for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership match against Exeter Chiefs at Kingston Park.

There are a number of personnel and positional switches from the team that faced Northampton and Alex Tait headlines the new faces as he makes his first start of the season on the right wing, filling the gap created by Giamba Venditti’s switch to the left in place of Alesana Tuilagi.

Fresh from scoring his first Aviva Premiership try, Tom Penny makes his first start in the competition, replacing Chris Harris in the 13 shirt, who misses out while awaiting the results of a scan after picking up a knock last week.

Another player returning from injury is Michael Young at scrum half, who made an impressive cameo against Gloucester in the season opener before being forced from the field and who will look to ignite the Falcons backline with half back partner Mike Delany.

Simon Hammersley remains in the full back position and Adam Powell continues at inside centre.

Twenty two year old Hammersley in particular has enjoyed a strong start to his second season, beating 11 defenders across his two games to date and making four clean breaks, with only Sale’s Tom Arscott bettering that effort.

In the forwards, USA Eagle Eric Fry replaces Rob Vickers at loose head prop and packs down with a pair of Scottish internationals in the shape of newly re-signed Scott Lawson and Rugby World Cup star Jon Welsh.

A powerful second row of Mouritz Botha and Calum Green will be out to provide plenty of go forward alongside a physical presence at the line out while in the back row, captain Will Welch returns on the blindside flank, with Nili Latu and Ally Hogg remaining at openside and number eight respectively.

On the bench, there is a prospective first start for 11 times capped Puma Belisario Agulla, who joins Ruki Tipuna and Tom Catterick as the back line replacements.

George McGuigan, Rob Vickers and Taione Vea provide the front row cover, while Josh Furno and Todd Clever provide the second and back row options.

Newcastle Falcons only Aviva Premiership Rugby victory since January was 37-21 at home to Harlequins in round 22 last season, whilst the last time that the Tynesiders failed to score a try in a match in the tournament was on a trip to London Irish in April 2014.

Exeter Chiefs have lost just one of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters: 17-19 at Bath in the opening round of the new season. Exeter have won only twice on the road in the competition since last November: at Harlequins in February and at Saracens in May.

The Falcons have beaten Exeter just once in their last eight encounters in all tournaments: 29-24 at Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby in October 2014.

Meanwhile Exeter head coach Rob Baxter has tinkered somewhat with his starting XV from seven days ago.

In the backs, Matt Jess will run out for his 100th Premiership appearance for the club, replacing two-try hero Jack Nowell, who misses out because of the artificial surface at Kingston Park.

Also back in the centre is Sam Hill, who takes over from Ian Whitten, while up front summer signing Julian Salvi gets his first start for the Chiefs, coming into a re-jigged back-row that sees Don Armand moves to No.8 and Thomas Waldrom drop to the bench.

Ollie Atkins is also recalled amongst the replacements for the injured Geoff Parling.

“Our focus has to move beyond London Irish very quickly,” he said. “We don’t have any major team issues. We’ve been good defensively and various bits of our game are looking good at the moment.

“Our scrum was still a little hit-and-miss for my liking. It was okay and did not become a pressure-reliever for London Irish, but I would like to be a little more dominant and we will work on that.

“We are just not quite purring, not every cog is clicking along in the right way at the moment. It isn’t a back-to-the-drawing-board thing though. There were some good scrums at the weekend, we just need to find that consistency.

“These are all elements we have to get right against Newcastle this weekend.”

Match : Newcastle Falcons v Exeter Chiefs
Date : Sunday 1st November
Venue : Kingston Park,
Kick Off : 1pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee : Ian Tempest (8 th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff & Steve Lee.
TMO: Sean Davey

Teams

Newcastle Falcons

15 Hammersley 14 Tait 13 Penny 12 Powell 11 Venditti 10 Delany 9 Young 8 Hogg 7 Latu 6 Welch ( C )5 Green 4 Botha 3 Welsh 2 Lawson 1 Fry

Replacements : 16 McGuigan 17 Vickers 18 Vea 19 Furno 20 Clever 21 Tipuna 22 Catterick 23 Agulla

Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman , 14 Matt Jess , 13 Henry Slade , 12 Sam Hill , 11 James Short , 10 Gareth Steenson (capt) , 9 Will Chudley , 1 Ben Moon , 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie , 3 Tomas Francis , 4 Mitch Lees , 5 Damian Welch , 6 Dave Ewers , 7 Julian Salvi , 8 Don Armand

Replacements : 16 Jack Yeandle , 17 Alec Hepburn , 18 Moray Low , 19 Ollie Atkins , 20 Thomas Waldrom , 21 Dave Lewis , 22 Ian Whitten , 23 Olly Woodburn

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