Team news: 200 up for Michael Young at Harlequins

Friday 14 April 2023 Written by: Adam

The scrum-half captains the side for the 3pm kick-off at the Twickenham Stoop, chalking up his double century in a side which sees two changes from the team which defeated Gloucester last time out.

Mark Tampin replaces the suspended Richard Palframan at tight-head prop while Ben Stevenson continues at outside centre after impressing from the bench in place of injured Argentina centre Matias Orlando.

Interim head coach Mark Laycock once again takes charge of the side, and had nothing but positive things to say about fellow Hartlepool native Young ahead of his impending appearance milestone.

“It’s really special for Michael to play his 200th game for the Falcons, and I know it will be a really proud day for him and his family,” he said.

“I’ve known him for a very long time – our mams were both coaches of West Hartlepool Under-8s together back in the day – and he has contributed a huge amount to the club in terms of his leadership and playing ability.

“He and the rest of the squad will be keen to build on our home win over Gloucester last time out, and really channel the energy and positivity around that performance.”

Playing out a 71-point thriller at home to Harlequins when the two teams met earlier in the season, Laycock said: “They like to run the ball and everyone is aware of that threat, but we’ve had a good week and worked on a number of things.

“Mark Wilson has been great during the week in terms of driving the emotional energy and putting in place a few things which will test Harlequins in different ways, and hopefully take them to some uncomfortable places.

“Their 8, 9, 10, 12 axis is massive in terms of how they play, so we’ll be working hard to shut that down and try to impose some of our own game onto them. I think it will be a good contest, and I know everyone on our side is hugely looking forward to it.

“I’d also like to mention the contribution of the guys who aren’t in the squad for the game, because they’ve really gone the extra mile in helping the lads throughout the training week to ensure we’re prepared as well as we can be. I know it can’t be easy in balancing the disappointment of not being selected because everyone wants to be out on the field, but the attitude and selflessness of the group has been absolutely outstanding.”

Following a period which has seen Alex Codling announced as the incoming head coach and with comings and goings among the playing and coaching group, Laycock said: “We’ve been open with the squad and have been planning things out clearly to have a big focus on making every day special when the lads come into the club.

“We want to really give them something to look forward to with the purpose of really driving the energy, and to be fair the boys have all bought into it. We’ve had a couple of good training weeks on the back of a positive result against Gloucester, and hopefully that will translate into our remaining three games.”

Dropping to the foot of the table despite winning their last match, he added: “Nobody wants to finish bottom of the league but we’re very clear that it’s all about the performance for us, and if we perform as well as we can then the results will look after themselves.

“Over these next three games we want to put in performances that we and our supporters can be proud of. That’s not to say league position isn’t important – clearly it is in any sport – but the focus among our group is on doing ourselves justice and performing as well as we can.

“We’re about to start a new chapter at the club and I’ve been having some good conversations with Alex about putting those plans in place, but for the time being it’s all about finishing this season strongly and giving ourselves the best possible platform from which to build.”

Saturday’s game is being shown live on PRTV. [**Click here**][1] to buy your stream for £4.99.

**Newcastle Falcons team to face Harlequins (Saturday, 3pm, Twickenham Stoop)**

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Matias Moroni, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Callum Chick, 8 Carl Fearns.

**Replacements:** 16 Conrad Cade, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Conor Kenny, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Pete Lucock.

**Not available for selection:** Connor Collett, Luke Coulston, Ollie Fletcher, Gary Graham, Ewan Greenlaw, Zach Kerr, Charlie Maddison, Matias Orlando, Tom Penny, Guy Pepper, Richard Palframan, Vereimi Qorowale, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, Philip van der Walt, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.

**Harlequins:** 15 Nick David, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care;1 Joe Marler, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Wilco Louw, 4 Dino Lamb, 5 Irne Herbst, 6 Luke Wallace, 7 Will Evans, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain).

**Replacements:** 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 George Hammond, 20 Jack Kenningham, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Oscar Beard, 23 Josh Bassett.

**Referee:** Matthew Carley.