Team news: Falcons side to face Leicester Tigers

Friday 06 January 2023 Written by: Adam

Radwan starts on the right wing for the 2pm kick-off, with Moroni lining up against the club for whom he started in last season’s victorious Premiership final.

He partners fellow Argentina international Matias Orlando, re-forming the same midfield pairing which started in Los Pumas’ historic test victory away to New Zealand at the start of the season.

Tom Penny continues to captain the Falcons but switches from centre to full-back, having scored two tries away to Northampton the last time he played with No.15 on his back.

Brett Connon is at fly-half after missing just one kick at goal in his last five league outings, with the Falcons aiming to push on from their last home game – a 20-14 triumph against high-flying Sale Sharks on December 23.

On the bench there is a return for hooker Charlie Maddison following the end of his suspension, with Tian Schoeman back from illness.

Looking forward to the game, head coach Dave Walder is well aware of the ways in which Leicester will test his Falcons side.

He said: “Statistically, the games Leicester have won and lost have defined by the territorial battle and the gain line, and we’ve spoken about that.

“Last week Sale Sharks gave a pretty good example of how you need to play against them – Sale were outstanding in what they did – but we know Leicester will be a wounded animal from that.

“We’ve got a good idea of what we need to do, the key is going to be are we able to execute it?”

With Newcastle scoring more first-phase tries this season than most teams in the division, Walder said: “Last year we scored more tries from counter-attack, and it seems like sides have taken notice of that and given us more line-outs, so we’re now starting to see more line-out scores.

“A lot of our first-phase tries have been scored from our maul, which Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod have got well-drilled, and it also creates opportunities around it when defenders get sucked in.

“We’re always looking at ways to score more tries and we’re conscious of the need to do that – whether it’s from one phase or from 27. We’re always looking at ways to get the ball into the hands of runners like Mateo Carreras and Adam Radwan, and our outside backs are absolutely lethal when we get them good ball.

“I hate using the word ‘brave’, because moving the ball wide isn’t brave if that’s where the space is.

“That’s just smart rugby, and part of our problem this season has been that we’re moving the ball to the space probably a phase later than we should have been. So the ball is getting there, but we’re up against a more organised defensive line with plenty of numbers, and we just need to be sharper in not having that extra carry or that extra phase when there’s space on the width.

“We’ve maybe gone into our shell a little bit in certain respects before we move the ball, and we just need to get that balance of moving the ball to the right place at the right time. It’s not a forwards versus backs thing – it’s just guys seeing the space, calling it in and making it happen.”

With the BT Sport cameras in town for only the second time this season, Walder insists he and his players are determined to seize the chance to showcase the club.

“It’s a massive opportunity for us to show a wider audience what we’re about, and we always love being on TV,” said the former England fly-half.

“It’s a shame we’re not on TV more, and there’s a feeling around the club that we get ignored a bit in terms of how few times we get picked for televised matches compared to other clubs.

“First and foremost of course you want people inside the stadium and enjoying the game in person, but for the guys who can’t get here or for your away matches, absolutely you want to have that exposure of being on BT Sport.

“We want people to see what we’ve got going on and what we’re building as a team, and it’s important for us as a club to start getting our fair share of the TV picks.”

[**Click here**][1] to buy tickets for Saturday’s game.

**Newcastle Falcons team v Leicester Tigers (Saturday, 2pm, Kingston Park Stadium, live on BT Sport).**

15 Tom Penny (captain), 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 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Gary Graham, 7 Callum Chick, 8 Carl Fearns.

**Replacements:** 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Michael Young, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo.

**Not available for selection:** Sam Clark, Connor Collett, Matt Deehan, Freddie Lockwood, Pete Lucock, Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, Guy Pepper, Josh Peters, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.

**Leicester Tigers:** 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Harry Simmons, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 James Cronin, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green, 6 Ollie Chessum, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain).

**Replacements:** 16 Joe Taufete’e, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Cameron Henderson, 20 Emeka Ilione, 21 Sean Jansen, 22 Jack van Poortvliet, 23 Jimmy Gopperth.

**Referee:** Tom Foley.