Team news: Williams in for Worcester trip

Friday 14 September 2018

Johnny Williams makes his first Gallagher Premiership appearance for Newcastle Falcons as they travel to Worcester Warriors on Saturday.

The former London Irish centre shone for the Falcons during pre-season, scoring a try in the 42-17 away victory over European and Pro 14 champions Leinster, and comes into the side in place of Josh Matavesi following the injury he picked up at Leicester Tigers last weekend.

Adam Radwan replaces the injured Vereniki Goneva on the right wing, Newcastle otherwise unchanged from the side which scored five tries last time out at Welford Road.

Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Our record at Sixways hasn’t been great in recent seasons and it’s a difficult place to play, but at the same time we should be going there with confidence and with a view to taking back some points.

“It’s like everything, there’s always a point whereby a run of defeats comes to an end, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be on Saturday.

“It certainly won’t be easy because Worcester are really competitive, and they take a brutal approach to the game. You have to front up physically to that threat, we’re prepared for that approach but are also looking to impose our own shape onto the game.”

Losing to champions Saracens and a fired-up Leicester Tigers team during their opening two games, Richards said: “Of the four halves of rugby we’ve played I’d say we’ve had three decent ones and one terrible one.

“Against Saracens I felt we deserved to get something out of it, there was a blatant knock-on at the end which cost us a bonus point and the chance to go on and win the game, and at Leicester we should have had a penalty try. The refereeing department are still a little bit at odds with us regarding that, but a penalty try at that stage would have made it a four-point game despite us having started so slowly during the first half.

“The sense of frustration the players feel at certain key decisions not going our way perhaps adds fuel to the fire in terms of really wanting that first win, but you can’t look for the referees to do it. You don’t always get that bit of luck, and we have to look to ourselves.

“When you look at that fixture list in the cold light of day it’s pretty brutal, but that’s what we’re here for and what excites us.

“It’s the hardest start to a season that we’ve had during my time at the club, and we’ll take out of these first six games what we take out of them before regrouping and moving forward. We’re under no illusions as to how difficult this first block is, but on the same token they’re all there for the taking in our eyes.”

Newcastle Falcons team to play Worcester Warriors (Saturday, 3pm, Sixways)

15 Simon Hammersley

14 Adam Radwan

13 Chris Harris

12 Johnny Williams

11 Sinoti Sinoti

10 Toby Flood

9 Sonatane Takulua

1 Sami Mavinga

2 George McGuigan

3 Logovi’i Mulipola

4 Calum Green

5 Will Witty

6 Mark Wilson

7 Will Welch (captain)

8 Callum Chick

Replacements

16 Santiago Socino

17 Adam Brocklebank

18 Jack Payne

19 Tevita Cavubati

20 Gary Graham

21 Sam Stuart

22 Joel Hodgson

23 Tom Penny

Worcester Warriors

15 Chris Pennell

14 Bryce Heem

13 Francois Venter

12 Ryan Mills

11 Josh Adams

10 Duncan Weir

9 Francois Hougaard

1 Callum Black

2 Joe Taufete'e

3 Simon Kerrod

4 Pierce Phillips

5 Darren Barry

6 Marco Mama

7 Sam Lewis

8 GJ van Velze (captain)

Replacements

16 Jack Singleton

17 Ryan Bower

18 Gareth Milasinovich

19 Anton Bresler

20 Alafoti Faosiliva

21 Michael Heaney

22 Jono Lance

23 Ashley Beck

Referee: Wayne Barnes

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