Team news: Radwan returns against Jersey

Friday 13 December 2019

Adam Radwan returns for Newcastle Falcons on Saturday as they host Jersey Reds in the final group game of the Championship Cup.

The 2pm Kingston Park kick-off sees Radwan back in action after missing the last two games with a foot injury, the homegrown winger having dotted down five tries in his seven games this season.

Ben Stevenson starts on the other wing having scored six tries in seven games, last week’s hat-trick hero George Wacokecoke starting alongside Josh Matavesi in a potent midfield pairing.

Toby Flood returns at fly-half as the Falcons aim to take their winning run out to 12 games, Newcastle having already secured a home quarter-final but still playing for top seeding in the tournament.

George McGuigan captains the side after playing his 100th game for the Falcons during last weekend’s 43-14 victory at Doncaster, while Gary Graham, Sam Lockwood and Mark Tampin all feature against their former club.

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is expecting a stern test from the Channel Island outfit, who were beaten 42-19 when they visited Kingston Park in Championship action on November 2.

“The last time they came here they played well and I think the score-line flattered us, to be honest,” said the Newcastle boss.

“Jersey are a good side and we’ll need to be on top of our game if we want to get another win against them. They’re well coached, they’ve got good players and it’s another good test for us.”

Aiming for a sharper performance than last weekend’s at Doncaster, Richards added: “It was a messy game, we allowed it to become that way and I was frustrated by how the game unfolded.

“Ultimately we still scored 40-odd points and I was pleased with that, but we’ve got to take more control of the game than we did last Saturday.

“The squad rotation has possibly been a factor in a little bit of a lack of cohesion in our performances, and that’s only natural to a degree when you swap things from one week to the next. At the same time we’ve given lots of guys an opportunity while keeping everyone fresh, and it has ensured that if we do need to drop people into the team then they know what they’re doing.

“We’re almost at the end of the year now and we’ll probably see a bit more consistency in our selection during the back half of the campaign, but it’s a very competitive squad and it’s great that we have a genuine battle in every position.

“One of the beauties of this season is that we’ve been able to give opportunities to players like Rob Farrar, Ben Stevenson and Adam Radwan, to name just a few. They have been outstanding, and they’re really holding their hands up. I’ve been delighted with what the lads have brought to the table, and the squad is in a good place.

“If you asked the players how they felt the first part of the season had gone they’d be totally honest and tell you there are frustrations about the fact that we haven’t quite clicked into fifth gear.

“That’s partly down to as us coaches not giving them consistency in selection from week to week, but at the same time we’ve been giving opportunities to players and enabling those guys to drop into the team more easily for when the need arises.”

Refusing to look beyond Saturday’s assignment despite the looming prospect of a top-versus-second clash in the league a week later, Richards said: “Some people are understandably pointing to the fact we play Ealing away in the league next weekend and talking about what a big game that is, but I’ve always been a firm believer in only thinking about one game at a time.

“We want to be the top seeds in the cup because it rewards our fans with a home draw if we keep progressing further into the competition, and if we can do that by getting a good win against Jersey then that in itself puts us in a great position going into the Ealing match.”

Tickets for Saturday’s 2pm kick-off are available by clicking here, calling 0871 226 6060 or from Kingston Park Stadium in person.

Newcastle Falcons team v Jersey Reds (Saturday, 2pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Alex Tait

14 Adam Radwan

13 George Wacokecoke

12 Josh Matavesi

11 Ben Stevenson

10 Toby Flood

9 Sonatane Takulua

1 Sam Lockwood

2 George McGuigan (captain)

3 Mark Tampin

4 Darren Barry

5 Sean Robinson

6 Gary Graham

7 Will Welch

8 Philip van der Walt

Replacements

16 Jamie Blamire

17 Adam Brocklebank

18 Mike Daniels

19 Sebastian de Chaves

20 Callum Chick

21 Sam Stuart

22 Joel Hodgson

23 Gareth Owen

Jersey Reds

15 Auguy Slowik

14 Alex Morgan

13 James Newey

12 Rodney Iona

11 Leroy Van Dam

10 Aaron Penberthy

9 Liam Howley

1 James Wayland

2 Nic Dolly

3 Leeroy Atalifo

4 Liam Hallam-Eames

5 Rory Bartle

6 Kyle Hatherell

7 Jake Upfield

8 Janco Venter (captain)

Replacements

16 TJ Harris

17 Harry Morley

18 Alec Clarey

19 Conor Joyce

20 Max Argyle

21 Will Homer

22 Greg Dyer

23 Jack Stapley

Referee: Neil Chivers

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