Newcastle Falcons have made three changes for Saturday’s trip to London Scottish as Dean Richards’ men look to make it two wins out of two in the RFU Championship (kick-off 3pm).
Grant Shiells and James Hall start in the front row replacing Jonny Golding and Oliver Tomaszczyk, while Richard Mayhew gets the nod in the back-row.
The Falcons stick with the same back-line that earned them a bonus-point 37-20 victory at Bristol last weekend thanks to tries from Luke Fielden (2), Tane Tu’ipulotu and Ally Hogg.
A winning start was the perfect tonic for Richards, but the experienced boss insists his side must be in the right frame of mind if they are to take the spoils in the capital.
“London Scottish are an interesting team and have a lot of danger in their side, and are a potential banana skin for us,” said Richards.
“You can’t underestimate them and in various positions they have some quality, so if we go into the game with half an attitude instead of being on top of the game then we will come unstuck.
“They have a quick back three and a large midfield, and they are very competitive upfront so they will be a very difficult side to play against,” he added.
Leaving the Memorial Stadium with maximum points last weekend, Richards wants his unit to be mentally prepared for the clash at the Athletic Ground.
Richards said: “We didn’t play as well as we could have done and although we got the five points, we could have done a lot better.
“The mental side of playing in the RFU Championship is one of the things we talked a lot about during my first season at Harlequins, which ultimately saw us promoted back to the Premiership.
“We have not really done it much at Newcastle yet, but I will be deliberately making the point to the players today before we set off for London.
“What I will be touching on is that you go to these grounds and the facilities will not be what you are used to in the Premiership.
“The stands won’t be as big, the refereeing will be different and it all combines to make it a difficult time for some of these boys when we play away.
“You have just got to take care of all these things during your mental preparation, look after them and make sure they don’t affect your performance.”
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Luke Fielden, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 James Hall, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 James Hudson, 6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Richard Mayhew
Reps: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 James Fitzpatrick, 22 Waisea Luveniyali