Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers Premiership Preview

Newcastle Falcons host Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park

Leicester Tigers have named international duo Telusa Veainu and Marcos Ayerza in their team to play Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership at Kingston Park on Friday.

Both men sat out the home defeat by Sale Sharks last weekend but take their places in the starting team at Kingston Park.

Tom Croft reclaims a place in the back row after starting on the bench against Sharks, with Mike Fitzgerald moving into the second row as a replacement for the suspended Dom Barrow.

Laurence Pearce is included among the replacements after missing the last two games, and there is a place in a Premiership matchday squad for the first time for fly-half Oli Bryant.

Newcastle Falcons’ last five matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day.

The Tynesiders have won their last four matches in all competitions at Kingston Park since Saracens beat them there in Premiership Rugby in early December.

Leicester Tigers 100% home winning record in 2015/16 ended with their 3-10 reversal to Sale on Saturday.

They did however win their most recent away match by a single point in 37 at Gloucester in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 30th January.

Leicester have won their last eleven fixtures with The Falcons in Premiership Rugby since Newcastle’s 14-10 victory at Kingston Park in March 2009.

Meanwhile Newcastle have brought back Chris Harris and Marcus Watson as the North East side look to extend their home winning streak to five games.

Having beaten Bath and Harlequins in the last two home league games and taken bonus points from away games at London Irish and Wasps, a predominantly settled selection will enter the field with a chance to maintain and increase the momentum building behind the team.

Harris’s return sees the Cumbrian back take the outside centre shirt for the eighth time for the club, while Adam Powell moves across to the inside centre berth in place of Juan Pablo Socino, who moves to the bench.

Former England 7s star Watson’s return will see him line up on the left wing and look to build on his last outing which saw him claim score his debut Aviva Premiership try to back up the six he collected in the group stages of the European competition.

Partnering Watson on the wing Alex Tait will be looking to face off against brother Mathew for the eighth time in his 171st Newcastle Falcons appearance.

Simon Hammersley and Michael Young continue at fullback and scrum half respectively while Andy Goode makes his first home start for the club after scoring 14 points in his first two Aviva Premiership appearances in a Falcons shirt.

The Falcons name an unchanged pack from that which was so combative and solid during last weekend’s Ricoh Arena clash, with Bobby Vickers making his 197th club appearance alongside Scotland international Scott Lawson and Tongan international Taione Vea in the front row.

Mark Wilson and Sean Robinson remain as the second row pairing that have been delivering impressive performances that have been a thorn in the side of their opponents, with the Cumbrian in particular performing to a standard that must be catching the eye of Eddie Jones and the England selectors.

The home side’s pack is completed once again by club captain Will Welch, making his 161st Falcons appearance, Tongan captain Nili Latu and Scotland international Ally Hogg donning the 6, 7 and 8 shirts respectively.

The Falcons bench sees 72-times capped Japanese international Kensuke Hatakeyama, fresh from a starring role in this week’s media session, in line to make his first club appearance since moving to the North East less than two weeks ago.

Alex Rogers and George McGuigan provide further front row replacements while Mouritz Botha offers an additional option at second row.

Former Leicester Tiger and Samoan international Alesana Tuilagi is named on the bench for the first time this year after recovering from a hamstring injury and is joined amongst the replacement backs by fellow internationals Tane Takulua (Tonga) and Juan Pablo Socino (Argentina).

After impressing throughout the season, Craig Willis completes the Falcons’ match day squad as replacement Fly Half.

The Bookies have given Newcastle a 3.5 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers
Date : Friday 12 February
Venue : Kingston Park,
Kick Off : 7.45pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee :Greg Garner (91st Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Kelvin Stewart.
TMO: David Sainsbury.


Newcastle Falcons

15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Alex Tait, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Adam Powell, 11. Marcus Watson, 10. Andy Goode, 9. Michael Young, 1. Bobby Vickers, 2. Scott Lawson, 3. Taione Vea, 4. Mark Wilson, 5. Sean Robinson, 6. Will Welch (c), 7. Nili Latu, 8. Ally Hogg.

Replacements: 16. George McGuigan, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Alesana Tuilagi, 21. Sonatane Takulua, 22. Craig Willis, 23. Juan Pablo Socino.

Leicester Tigers

15 Telusa Veainu , 14 Peter Betham , 13 Mathew Tait (c) , 12 Matt Smith , 11 Gonzalo Camacho , 10 Freddie Burns , 9 Sam Harrison , 1 Marcos Ayerza , 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini , 3 Fraser Balmain , 4 Mike Fitzgerald , 5 Graham Kitchener , 6 Tom Croft , 7 Lachlan McCaffrey , 8 Jordan Crane

Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker , 17 Logovi’i Mulipola , 18 Greg Bateman , 19 Sebastian De Chaves , 20 Laurence Pearce , 21 Jono Kitto , 22 Oli Bryant , 23 Jack Roberts

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