Team news: Connon comes in against Ampthill

Friday 31 January 2020

Brett Connon makes his first start of the season for Newcastle Falcons on Sunday when they host Ampthill in Greene King IPA Championship action (kick-off 1pm).

The fly-half’s inclusion comes as one of six changes from the side which defeated Nottingham last Friday, the league-leading Falcons having won their last 16 games in all competitions.

Elsewhere in the team Tim Swiel comes onto the right wing, with Michael Young starting at scrum-half. Mike Daniels packs down at tight-head prop and Callum Chick comes into the back row, the only other switch seeing the return of Will Welch.

Head coach Dave Walder said: “Getting back to Kingston Park is something we’re all looking forward to after back-to-back away games, and our record at home over the last few years has been pretty solid.

“It’ll be great to be back on our own pitch in front of our own fans, playing our brand of rugby.

“Having two away games with a five-day turnaround in between them has been challenging for the boys but we’ve had a good build-up for this one, and we’re just looking forward to it.”

Hoping to have more possession and scoring opportunities than they did during last weekend’s 19-12 victory at Nottingham, Walder said: “It wasn’t pretty but it was a win.

“We were disappointed with some areas but we showed a lot of character, and we dealt with our three sin-binnings pretty well. Ultimately we took the referee out of it, and we took the few opportunities we had.

“We were clinical with our line-out drive and Adam Radwan took the one half-chance he had, then Greg Peterson powered over from a spell of good forward pressure. It’s a shame we didn’t create more but we were pretty ruthless with the chances we had, so we’ll just look to build on it going into Sunday.”

Despite having only just been promoted Ampthill have climbed into the top half of the Championship table as the league approaches the half-way point, and Walder for one is not underestimating the threat posed by the Bedfordshire-based side.

“Ampthill are one of the main teams in this league who play to their own strengths,” said the former England fly-half.

“They’ve got a core of very experienced players, they have some big carriers who aren’t asked to do too much else around the field and their head coach Paul Turner always has a few tricks up his sleeve.

“They know what they’re about and they don’t stray away from that a lot, so it’ll be tough for us. Having said that, if we can play our own game on a good surface like ours then there aren’t many teams who can live with us.

“Saying it is one thing, though - we just need to go out and do it.”

Tickets for Sunday’s 1pm kick-off are available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or from Kingston Park Stadium in person. Buy before game day and save £3 per ticket.

Stay on to watch the France v England match on the stadium TVs at 3pm. In the West Stand’s 100 Club there is a special screening including half-time and full-time analysis from Dean Richards, with tickets priced £5 including a drink and hot food. To book, please click here.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Ampthill (Sunday, 1pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Tom Arscott

14 Tim Swiel

13 George Wacokecoke

12 Johnny Williams

11 Sinoti Sinoti

10 Brett Connon

9 Michael Young (co-captain)

1 Trevor Davison

2 George McGuigan (co-captain)

3 Mike Daniels

4 Greg Peterson

5 Sean Robinson

6 Callum Chick

7 Will Welch

8 Nemani Nagusa

Replacements

16 Charlie Maddison

17 Sam Lockwood

18 Logovi'i Mulipola

19 Sebastian de Chaves

20 Simon Uzokwe

21 Sonatane Takulua

22 Joel Hodgson

23 Gareth Owen

Ampthill

15 Tomi Lewis

14 Spencer Sutherland

13 Jarryd Sage

12 Sam Hanks

11 Will Foster

10 Louis Grimoldby (captain)

9 Leon Fukofuka

1 Soane Tonga’uiha

2 Dave Ward

3 Matt Collins

4 Rob Langley

5 Billy Johnson

6 Jac Arthur

7 Will Allman

8 Maama Molitika

Replacements

16 Aleki Lutui

17 Ben Christie

18 Luvuyo Pupuma

19 Henri Williams

20 Sam Hudson

21 Kevin Barrett

22 Serafin Bordoli

23 Sam Baker

Referee: George Selwood.

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