Team news: 250 up for Brown at Leicester

Friday 31 December 2021 Written by: Adam

The full-back will become only the sixth player in the league’s history to reach the milestone, having been denied the opportunity on Boxing Day following the cancellation of the Falcons’ scheduled match against Sale Sharks.

He forms part of a side which sees a first appearance of the season for Matias Orlando, the vastly-experienced Argentina centre who has recovered from a groin injury.

Fellow Puma Mateo Carreras is also back in the team having scored tries for his country against France and Ireland during the November internationals, joining a back-line which sees the return of Joel Hodgson at fly-half.

Charlie Maddison makes a first appearance of the season at hooker against the unbeaten league leaders, Will Welch returning to captain a side whose last game came all the way back on December 10 – a 31-26 EPCR Challenge Cup win over Worcester Warriors.

Speaking ahead of the game, defence coach Nick Easter said: “Nobody outside of our group will be expecting us to get a result, but I can assure you the expectation within the club is really strong that we can go down there and get the win.

“Discipline will be a big focus for us. We’re away from home, and there’ll be a big Welford Road crowd in.

“The physicality that Leicester bring – our boys have been watching that and will be absolutely buzzing at the opportunity of going down there in a cauldron of an atmosphere and getting into a proper battle.

“That’s what we love, and the characters that I’ve come to know here love working hard for each other and embracing that physical combat element of the sport. They know they’re representing the North East and Cumbria in terms of our patch, and it’s the perfect game for us to get back into it after three weeks without a match.

“We don’t want to be caught cold, because Leicester are an extremely intense and physical team. You don’t get to be top of the league and win ten out of ten without having that as your number one attribute, and Leicester have that.”

Crediting Tigers for the way in which they have turned round their fortunes in recent times, Easter added: “Steve Borthwick will have been at Saracens when Brendan Venter came in and did a similar job more than 10 years ago, and it looks like the same foundation – strong pack, good kicking game and physical in defence.

“Steve was obviously part of the England coaching set-up which lost the Rugby World Cup final to a pragmatic Springbok side, and it’s a very South African slant he’s put on things with the way they’re playing. They’ve obviously signed a few South African guys, too, and you’d have to say it’s worked for him.”

**Newcastle Falcons team v Leicester Tigers (Sunday, 3pm, Mattioli Woods Welford Road)**

15 Mike Brown, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Carl Fearns.

**Replacements:** 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Callum Chick, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Tom Penny.

**Leicester Tigers:** 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Guy Porter, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge (captain), 2 Julián Montoya, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Eli Snyman, 5 Calum Green, 6 Ollie Chessum, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 George Martin.

**Replacements:** 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Nic Dolly, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Matías Moroni.

**Referee:** Karl Dickson.