Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester Premiership Preview

Newcastle Falcons host Gloucester at Kingston Park

Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester Premiership Preview

Newcastle Falcons have named their team for their Aviva Premiership Rugby season opener against Gloucester Rugby at Kingston Park and welcomed back Samoan International and last season’s top try scorer Sinoti Sinoti.

Making his 31st appearance for the Falcons Sinoti will be joined in the back three by young guns Tom Catterick and Simon Hammersley. All three will be looking to build on solid performances in the 2014/15 campaign.

Former All Black Mike Delany will start at Fly Half after joining the Falcons this summer from Top 14 outfit Clermont Auvergne. Meanwhile countryman Ruki Tipuna continues at Scrum Half after a string of impressive performances during pre-season.

Completing the back line are Adam Powell and Chris Harris who line up in the centres.

Up front Tongan international Taione Vea will make his club debut at Tighthead joined by Falcons stalwart Rob Vickers at Loosehead and Scottish international Hooker Scott Lawson.

England international Mouritz Botha is joined in the engine room by Calum Green, backed up by Club Captain Will Welch at Openside and Richard Mayhew on the Blindside Flank.

USA international Todd Clever completes the Falcons’ pack at number 8 after impressing on his first two appearances for the club since arriving in the summer.

The Falcons’ bench is buoyed by returning World Cup Stars Eric Fry and Josh Furno who return from international duty after representing the USA and Italy respectively.

Fry is joined by Falcons Academy graduates George McGuigan and Scott Wilson as front row replacements whilst Scottish international Ally Hogg lines up alongside Furno to provide further forward options.

Elsewhere on the Falcons’ bench Scrum Half Micky Young is in line to pull on a Falcons’ jersey for the 80th time in what would be his first appearance since re-signing from Bath over the summer.

Further support is added to the Falcons’ backs through Fly Half Craig Willis and Wing Tom Penny.

You have to go back to September 2007 to discover the last time that Newcastle Falcons won their opening Aviva Premiership Rugby fixture of a new season, on that occasion beating Sale Sharks 33-12 at Kingston Park.

The Falcons beat Harlequins 37-21 in round 22 last season and have not won successive Premiership Rugby encounters for exactly 12 months.

Gloucester Rugby’s most recent triumph in an Aviva Premiership Rugby round 1 fixture was 24-5 at home to Bath in 2009, whilst their concluding game in the tournament last season saw them go down 30-50 at Bath in round 22.

Gloucester have not won on the road since beating Brive in the European Challenge Cup on 22nd January.

Newcastle’s only victory over Gloucester in their last five meetings in all tournaments was 20-10 at Kingston Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby in round 8 last season, whilst Gloucester’s only win on Falcons soil since 2008 came in September 2013.

Gloucester have named Billy Twelvetrees as captain of a side that featuring two debutants in Willi Heinz and Paddy McAllister.

Twelvetrees partners Heinz at half-back in a line-up that features the core of the team that featured throughout the club’s preseason campaign and who boast a considerable amount of Premiership experience.

With the exception of Heinz and McAllister, and number eight Lewis Ludlow who will make his second Premiership start, all the starting line-up are first team regulars.

Meanwhile, returning from World Cup duty are the likes of Sione Kalamafoni, Ben Morgan and Jonny May who are all named amongst the replacements.

Previewing the fixture with the local media, Director of Rugby David Humphreys explained that Gloucester have made the most of the extended preseason and are raring to go, but acknowledges that the Falcons will also be looking to start well.

“We’ve been ready to get going for a few weeks now. We obviously had plans in place to cater for what has been a unique preseason because of Rugby World Cup.

“It’s been good, we’ve got a lot of work done and everybody, players and staff, are ready to get into the competitive rugby and are really excited about the weekend.

“Newcastle have brought in a lot of new players but they’ve had consistency in their coaching team, they haven’t had to change their style of play. You know that any team that Dean (Richards) is in charge of will be incredibly well organised, will be very hard to beat.

“They will point out that they lost a lot of games last year by less than one score so they will come into this season, as we all do, full of optimism looking forward to what will be an even tougher Aviva Premiership than before.”

Match : Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester Rugby
Date : Friday 16th October
Venue : Kingston Park,
Kick Off : 8pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Tom Foley (7th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Small and Wayne Falla.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

Newcastle Falcons

15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Tom Catterick, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Adam Powell, 11. Sinoti Sinoti, 10. Mike Delany, 9. Ruki Tipuna, , 8. Todd Clever, 7. Will Welch (c), 6. Richard Mayhew, 5. Calum Green, 4. Mouritz Botha, 3. Taione Vea, 2. Scott Lawson ,1. Rob Vickers

Replacements: 16. George McGuigan, 17. Eric Fry, 18. Scott Wilson, 19. Josh Furno, 20. Ally Hogg, 21. Micky Young, 22. Craig Willis, 23. Tom Penny.

Gloucester

Rob Cook; Charlie Sharples, Bill Meakes, Mark Atkinson, Henry Purdy; Billy Twelvetrees (capt), Willi Heinz; Paddy McAllister, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa; Tom Savage, Elliott Stooke; Jacob Rowan, Matt Kvesic, Lewis Ludlow

Replacements: Tom Lindsay, Yann Thomas, Paul Doran-Jones, Sione Kalamafoni, Ben Morgan, Callum Braley, Jonny May, Steve McColl

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