FALCONS ANNOUNCE TEAM AIMING TO EXTEND UNBEATEN EUROPEAN RUN
Newcastle Falcons have refreshed the starting line up this week as they enter the third round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup, with the side showing a total of 13 changes from last weekend’s Aviva Premiership fixture against Sale Sharks.
Using the competition as an opportunity to provide match time to some of the club’s best emerging talent alongside established squad members, the squad selected to face Stade Francais contains a total of 19 Englishmen, with 12 graduates of the club’s academy structure.
In the backs, Simon Hammersley returns as the starting fullback, following a good impact from the bench against Sale. Alex Tait moves onto the right wing in place of Sinoti Sinoti and Noah Cato replaces Alesana Tuilagi on the left.
In the centres, former England Saxon Adam Powell captains the side from the number 13 shirt while Chris Harris will be looking to build on an impressive first two rounds of the European campaign, which currently sees the Cumbrian sit top of the tackle charts with a total of 38 completed.
At half back, Tom Catterick starts at Fly Half while Warren Fury takes over the scrum half berth from Mike Blair, with the former Wales international being another to deliver an impressive showing from the bench in last week’s league fixture.
In the front row, George McGuigan continues at hooker, while either side of him two of the club’s returning internationals take over the prop jerseys.
At loose head, USA Eagle Eric Fry makes his first start since forming part of the American team that faced the All Blacks in Chicago in early November, while Kieran Brookes returns from England’s four test series to start at tighthead.
In the second row, Kane Thompson, who makes his first start for the club after making his debut from the bench last Sunday, lines up alongside Scott Macleod while a completely rejigged back row sees Sean Robinson, Daniel Temm and Chris York come in for Mark Wilson, Andy Saull and Ally Hogg respectively.
On the bench, Rob Vickers, Alex Rogers and Scott Wilson provide the front row cover, with Dom Barrow and Ben Morris providing further forward options, with the latter potentially making his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury sustained whilst on duty with Rotherham Titans.
Ruki Tipuna and Rory Clegg provide the half back cover with Tom Penny providing options across the back line.
Friday’s match will see the Falcons look to cement their position at the top of their European Rugby Challenge Cup pool while Stade, who last faced the Falcons in the 2005 Heineken Cup quarter finals, will be aiming to bounce back from a slow start to their campaign and close the gap on the leaders ahead of next week’s return fixture in Paris.
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