Scottish stars Ally Hogg and Andy Henderson both make their Newcastle Falcons debuts on Saturday at Kingston Park, when Championship side Rotherham are the visitors (kick-off 5pm).No.8 Hogg and centre Henderson add over 100 caps worth of Test match experience to the Falcons line-up for the pre-season friendly, as new head coach Alan Tait aims to start the campaign on a winning note.
Fellow new boys Luke Eves, Jeremy Manning and Tim Ryan are also included in the starting XV, whilst lock forward James Hudson captains the side for the first time following his summer appointment.
England prop Jon Golding misses out with a rib injury, whilst last season's Premiership top scorer Jimmy Gopperth is only just back into full training following his scheduled summer knee operation.
Gopperth played in Tuesday's inter-squad game at Kingston Park which saw international referee Dave Pearson take charge of the Falcons v Falcons clash, going head-to-head with countryman Manning.
Head coach Alan Tait said: "Jimmy has only been doing bits of our pre-season training after his operation, and over the weeks has been gradually building up his involvement with the rest of the squad to be ready for the new campaign.
"We're all aware of what a fantastic player he is and how much we relied on him last season, but Jeremy Manning has come in and really looked the part. Those two will be fighting it out for the starting shirt during the early part of the season, and with Jeremy having been able to get a good pre-season under his belt we have given him the nod to start on Saturday."
With his Scottish international duo both starting, Tait added: "Ally Hogg is an outstanding footballer with great ball skills who I think will add a huge amount to this team, so it will be good to see how he goes on Saturday.
"Andy Henderson has been thrown in fairly soon after arriving at the club from France at the start of the month, but he's a real experienced guy and alongside Luke Eves it's a bit of a new-look midfield for us."
Chris Pilgrim starts at scrum half as Micky Young recovers from a minor niggle, with Tait still to confirm his bench for the match.
Tickets for Saturday's game are priced just £10 for adults and £5 for juniors/concessions. To book call 0871 226 60 60, or visit Kingston Park in person.
Only the West Stand and South Stands will be open for the game, with entry to both stands being via West Stand turnstiles 5,6,7 and 8. Fans are advised that only the West Stand bars will be open for those inside the ground, whilst the East Stand Hiding Place will be open to the public as usual.
All Falcons season ticket holders are entitled to free entry for this match. Those who have not received their booklets by Thursday should call 0871 226 60 60 to receive their free ticket. Alternatively, you can collect this from the ticket office on the day.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS TEAM TO FACE ROTHERHAM
15 Alex Tait
14 Gcobani Bobo
13 Luke Eves
12 Andy Henderson
11 Charlie Amesbury
10 Jeremy Manning
9 Chris Pilgrim
1 Grant Shiells
2 Rob Vickers
3 Tim Ryan
4 James Hudson (captain)
5 Tim Swinson
6 Brent Wilson
7 Will Welch
8 Ally Hogg
A whole host of players will also be in action for the Falcons Development Team on Saturday, as they take on Rotherham 'A' at Newcastle University's Cochrane Park ground (kick-off 2pm).