Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints Premiership Preview

Newcastle Falcons host Northampton Saintss at Kingston Park

Newcastle Falcons have named a starting side with just one change for this week’s Aviva Premiership match against Northampton Saints at Kingston Park/.

Mark Wilson returns to the back row and will be replaced in the second row berth he has occupied so effectively by England international Mouritz Botha.

Making his first start since the Falcons’ European victory over Brive, Botha will partner the incumbent Sean Robinson, the Falcons Academy graduate having this week been named as the league’s top line out performer.

Wilson, meanwhile, will move into the Blindside Flanker position where he will play alongside club captain Will Welch who moves over to the openside as cover for the injured Nili Latu, the Tongan captain awaiting a late fitness decision after leaving the field injured last weekend.

Scotland international Ally Hogg completes the back row at Number 8, where he will make his 138th appearance for the club.

The Falcons’ front row remains unchanged, Bobby Vickers fast closing in on his 200th club appearance as he dons the Loosehead jersey, with Scott Lawson continuing at Hooker and Tongan international Taione Vea retaining his spot at Tighthead Prop.

Within the backline Simon Hammersley continues at Full Back after a dynamic try scoring performance last weekend, while Alex Tait and Marcus Watson will once again provide support on the wings.

After touching down for the Falcons’ second try last weekend, Adam Powell will make his 73rd club appearance on Sunday in the centre of the team, joined by Chris Harris who returns to the Outside Centre position.

Veteran Fly Half Andy Goode will again occupy the Falcons’ number 10 shirt, with Scrum Half Michael Young completing the starting line up what will be his 95th appearance for the club.

Meanwhile within the Falcons’ replacements, Italian international Josh Furno will be hoping to return to the field for the first time this year after a length injury due to an ear and hamstring injury.
Front row support is provided by Japanese international Kensuke Hatakeyama, fellow Prop Alex Rogers and Hooker George McGuigan.

Further international support is provided on the bench by Tongan Scrum Half Tane Takulua and Argentine Centre Juan Pablo Socino, with Fly Half Craig Willis completing the match day 23.

Newcastle Falcons last six matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Tynesiders only defeat at Kingston Park in their last seven outings in all competitions was to Saracens in Premiership Rugby on 6th December.

Northampton Saints have lost just one of their last five first-team fixtures: 11-24 at home to Wasps in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 29th January.

Saints have won their last two away games, at Scarlets and Harlequins, and have not won three in a row on their travels since December 2014.

Northampton have won their last dozen fixtures with Newcastle in all competitions since the Falcons 19- 13 victory at Franklin’s Gardens in Premiership Rugby in February 2009, whilst Falcons’ most recent win against the Saints at Kingston Park was in September 2008.

Meanwhile Northampton have named an unchanged 23 so the same team which earned a bonus point win against London Irish will start this week again.

Match : Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints
Date : Sunday 21 February
Venue : Kingston Park,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Wayne Barnes (164th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce & Andy Watson .
TMO: David Sainsbury.

Teams

Newcastle Falcons

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

Replacements : 16. George McGuigan, 17. Alex Rogers, 18. Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19. Josh Furno, 20. Nili Latu, 21. Sonatane Takulua, 22. Craig Willis, 23. Juan Socino.

Northampton

15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 James Wilson, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson,(c) 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller

Replacemetnts: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 George Pisi

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