Team news: Falcons name side for Sharks trip

Friday 05 May 2023 Written by: Adam

Sam Stuart comes in at scrum-half as Newcastle look to complete a home-and-away double over their northern rivals, who were beaten 20-14 when they visited Kingston Park in December.

The other two changes both come in the forward pack where Adam Brocklebank returns at loose-head prop and Philip van der Walt comes in at flanker. Richard Palframan is added to the bench having completed his two-match suspension, with fellow prop Phil Brantingham also set to return.

Mateo Carreras starts on the left wing for the Falcons with one eye still on the Gallagher Premiership’s top try-scorer award – the Tucuman try machine sitting just one try behind Harlequins’ Cadan Murley going into the final round of matches.

Interim head coach Mark Laycock said: “It has been a rollercoaster season with some fantastic highs and a number of lows which we’ve not been happy with, and we’ve got to make sure we learn from it going into next year.

“The players have been incredibly resilient throughout everything, and the togetherness and professionalism they’ve shown has been one of the most pleasing aspects.

“The last two or three games highlights how up and down the season can be – beating Gloucester despite playing with 14 men for more than an hour and then suffering a heavy home defeat to Northampton. We’ve moved on from that now, though. We’re not going to let one game define our season and everybody’s mind is focused entirely on finishing with a positive performance over at Sale.

“We know it will be tough there because they’ll have a couple of Curry and Du Preez brothers, not to mention George Ford and all their other talented players, but it would be great to get that home-and-away double over them to end on a high for the lads and all of our supporters.”

With Carreras vying for the Premiership’s top try-scorer award following an incredible season, Laycock was quick to pay tribute to his prolific Puma.

“Mateo has been on an incredible journey these past few seasons, and it’s largely down to his own hard work,” he said.

“He arrived in England mid-season having just turned 21, didn’t speak the language and had never played in the competition. He had huge amounts of talent and potential, and he’s really found a way to get the best out of himself.

“As a coach, he’s an absolute dream. He’s really professional in his preparation, he’s a lot of fun around the place and he works incredibly hard. He reads the game so well that you just have to give him that licence to do his thing, and not be over-prescriptive. If you give him too many instructions it probably detracts from his instinctive play, so we’ve tried to free him up as much as possible and let him off the lead.

“Some of the tries he’s scored have been exceptional, and as well as the 80-metre solo scores you’ve seen ones where he’s bumping off forwards in tight spaces and making holes where there shouldn’t be holes. He’s phenomenal in defence as well, to be fair, and he’s one of those cheeky chappies around the club that everyone loves to have around.

“He’s not a big talker in the meetings but his English has come on massively, and he actually spoke really well this week to the lads. That’s the first time in a while he’s spoken up like that, but he was bang-on with everything he said and has so much respect from everybody. He’s a very honest bloke who puts his team-mates first even when he’s getting so many individual accolades, and those are the types of guys you want in your environment.

“It would be great for him and the club if he was able to end the season with that top try-scorer award, although he himself will admit it’s peripheral to what we’re trying to do as a team. It’s not something we’ve spoken about during the week, but yeah it would be a nice accolade for him after all the hard work he’s put in.”

Asked about the future with incoming head coach Alex Codling set to arrive in the summer, Laycock said: “We’ve made a number of signings which will help us develop our playing style and move us on as a team, and we’re excited about integrating those guys into our squad when they start with us.

“It’s also exciting to have Alex coming in as our new head coach, and it will be great to have a fresh voice bringing some outside input to how we do things here. He’s over in France helping Oyonnax achieve their ambition of reaching the Top 14 but I’ve already had a number of really positive phonecalls with him, and the planning is well underway for pre-season.

“That’s something we’re all looking forward to when the time comes, but for now we just want to give a great account of ourselves over at Sale on Saturday and make sure that this group ends its time together by putting in a performance we can be proud of.”

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

**Newcastle Falcons team v Sale Sharks (Saturday, 4pm, Salford Community Stadium)**

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Philip van der Walt, 8 Callum Chick (captain).

**Replacements:** 16 Conrad Cade, 17 Phil Brantingham, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Josh Thomas.

**Not available for selection:** Connor Collett, Luke Coulston, Ollie Fletcher, Gary Graham, Ewan Greenlaw, Zach Kerr, Pete Lucock, Charlie Maddison, Guy Pepper, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, Ben Stevenson, Corbin Thunder, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch, Michael Young.

**Sale Sharks:** 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Robert du Preez, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Arron Reed, 10 George Ford, 9 Raffi Quirke; 1 Bevan Rodd, 2 Ewan Ashman, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Sam Dugdale, 7 Ben Curry, 8 Jono Ross (captain).

**Replacements:** 16 Ethan Caine, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 James Harper, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Tom Ellis, 22 Will Cliff, 23 Sam James.

**Referee:** Sara Cox.