Friday 13 December 2013 Written by: Adam

Skipper Will Welch returns to the back-row in place of the injured Harrison Collins, while the in-form Richard Mayhew starts at No.8.

Promising tighthead Scott Wilson retains his position in the front-row alongside loosehead Rob Vickers and hooker Scott Wilson.

Meanwhile three new faces come into the backline with winger Alex Tait, centre Adam Powell and fly-half Rory Clegg pulling on the green and white European jersey.

“Italian sides at home are a different proposition to playing them in England,” said director of rugby Dean Richards, who expects a stiffer test off the shores of Lake Garda.

“The Latin mentality is that they give it their all at home in front of their passionate support, and we should also remember they had a difficult journey to Newcastle with being caught up in the airport chaos at London last weekend.

“They will be a different side altogether over there and I would expect them to be far more competitive,” he added.

Asked if his selection process was made with one eye on the Aviva Premiership clash at Exeter Chiefs the following week, Richards insists his side are 100 per cent focused on tomorrow’s challenge.

Richards said: “There is no point in going over to Italy and thinking mainly about what is happening the following weekend and the week after that.

“You can only take one game at a time, and provided we do that we should be fine. If we don’t, and we take our eye off the ball, it would be the worst thing we could do.”

Victory over the Italians would put the Falcons in the box-seat for the quarter-finals and breed confidence ahead of three crucial Premiership games during the Christmas period.

After travelling to Devon next weekend, back-to-back home matches ensue with London Wasps and Sale Sharks the visitors to Kingston Park on Friday 27 December and Friday 3 January respectively.

And with the Wasps match set to be the biggest crowd of the season, this is a festive treat not to be missed. Tickets for the game are still available by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or [click here][1] to purchase online.

**Newcastle Falcons**: 15 Noah Cato, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 6 Will Welch (c), 7 Andy Saull, 8 Richard Mayhew

**Replacements**: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Carlo del Fava, 20 James Fitzpatrick, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ryan Shortland