Monday 29 July 2013 Written by: Adam

The Falcons, who lifted the trophy in 2011, kick-off their sevens campaign this Friday at Franklin’s Gardens as they take on Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks and hosts Northampton Saints in Group B of the competition.

A talented squad comprising of a mixture of youth and experience has been assembled spearheaded by sevens head coach Calum MacRae and his assistant Mark Laycock.

Tom Catterick, Joel Hodgson and Michael Tait inject experience to proceedings having each played significant roles in the Falcons’ promotion back to the Aviva Premiership last term, while exciting prospects Zach Kibirige and Sean Brown get their chance to shine on the big stage.

A string of youngsters including Ben Morris, Glen Young, Andy Davies and Tom Penny are joined by England Students back-row Harrison Collins and England Counties full-back Chris Harris in the sevens fold.

“The sevens competitions is a great way to prepare for the regular 15-aside season, and it is a fantastic opportunity for the players, especially the younger lads, to show what they can do,” said MacRae.

He added: “Franklin’s Gardens is a superb venue in which to play your rugby, and I am really looking forward to seeing how our boys do against strong opposition.”

The northeasterners claimed the sevens crown two seasons ago after defeating Saracens 31-21 in the final showdown at the Twickenham Stoop. However, they were unable to defend their title the following season due to their relegation to the Championship.

Mayhew is delighted to be back in the sevens mix, adding: “It’s really exciting to be back, and I think the boys were missing it a bit last year and they can’t wait to get playing as it’s a great run-out ahead of the new season.”

MacRae, Laycock and Mayhew will each be available for interview at a media session this Wednesday in the build-up to the sevens. To confirm your attendance please email stewart.mccullough@newcastle-falcons.co.uk

Newcastle Falcons: 1 Harrison Collins, 2 Ben Morris, 3 Richard Mayhew (c), 4 Glen Young, 5 Michael Tait, 6 Tom Catterick, 7 Zach Kibirige, 8 Chris Harris, 9 Andy Davies, 10 Joel Hodgson, 11 Sean Brown, 12 Tom Penny