Seven changes for Falcons as Euro adventure continues
Newcastle Falcons enter Thursday evening’s European Rugby Challenge Cup round four fixture against Stade Francais with a starting 15 showing seven changes in personnel from the side that ran out 30 – 23 victors against the Parisian side last Friday at Kingston Park.
The changes come across the team with a combination of knocks and tactical calls combining to give the team a refreshed look as the Falcons look to take a further step towards an appearance in the knock out stages of the competition.
In the backs, Simon Hammersley retains the full back jersey, looking to build on an electrifying performance that saw him score his first European try for the club and rouse the crowd with a number of telling breaks.
A knock picked up during last week’s win sees Alex Tait miss out on the trip to the French capital with his place taken by another of round three’s try scorers, Chris Harris, who moves across from the inside centre berth to right wing.
In the centres, Adam Powell continues to Captain the side from the 13 spot while Juan Pablo Socino returns at 12, with Noah Cato again ready to exploit space on the left wing.
A refresh of the half backs sees Rory Clegg take the number 10 shirt for the sixth time this season while Ruki Tipuna takes over scrum half duties at the Stade Jean-Bouin.
In the pack, Alex Rogers has the opportunity to start after a fine appearance from the bench last week, which saw the 24 year old play a full part in the crucial final scrum that earned the Falcons a third straight win in Europe.
Alongside Rogers, American international Eric Fry and Geoge McGuigan continue in the front row, while in the second, Calum Green returns in place of Scott Macleod to partner Samoan Kane Thompson.
Lining up at the base of the scrum, Sean Robinson is another looking to build on a try scoring performance at Kingston Park, while Dan Temm and Chris York give way for Andy Saull and Mark Wilson respectively.
On the bench, Rob Hawkins is included for the first time since pulling up during the pre-match warm up at Northampton in the LV= Cup in November while Rob Vickers and Mark Irving complete the front row options.
Dom Barrow and Chris York complete forward replacements while Andy Davies, Tom Catterick and Tom Penny provide the back line options when needed.
15 Simon Hammersley 14 Chris Harris 13 Adam Powell (c) 12 Juan Pablo Socino 11 Noah Cato 10 Rory Clegg 9 Ruki Tipuna 1 Eric Fry 2 George McGuigan 3 Alex Rogers 4 Calum Green 5 Kane Thompson 6 Sean Robinson 7 Andy Saull 8 Mark Wilson
16 Rob Hawkins 17 Rob Vickers 18 Mark Irving 19 Dom Barrow 20 Chris York 21 Andy Davies 22 Tom Catterick 23 Tom Penny