Rory Lawson will skipper Newcastle Falcons for tomorrow’s RFU Championship trip to Doncaster Knights (kick-off 2.30pm).
The Falcons have made four changes to the side that defeated London Scottish on home turf last week, as they kept their 100 per cent record intact with another win in front of the TV cameras.
Promising youngster Zach Kibirige, who recently committed his future to the club by signing a long term deal, gets the nod on the wing while Alex Crockett and Tane Tu’ipulotu form the centre partnership. Alex Tait and Jimmy Gopperth are both side-lined through injury, while Suka Hufanga misses the trip with illness.
Jonny Golding’s inclusion at loose-head prop is the only change in the pack ahead of the New Year’s Day showdown.
Club captain Will Welch makes a welcome return to the bench after recovering from a back injury that has kept him out of action for the last month.
“They’re a good side and they can play some good rugby, and at times throughout the season they have caused side’s a problem,” said director of rugby Dean Richards.
“They just haven’t done it consistently, but I’m expecting a tough test when we go down to their place.
“Doncaster is a nice place to go and play rugby – it’s a good pitch, with good changing facilities and we are very much looking forward to the challenge,” added Richards.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Luke Fielden, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Rory Lawson (c), 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 James Hudson, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Richard Mayhew, 8 Taiasina Tu’ifua
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 James Goode, 19 Will Welch, 20 Warren Fury, 21 Waisea Luveniyali, 22 Jamie Helleur