Team news: Pepper to start at Gloucester

Friday 11 November 2022 Written by: Adam

The 19-year-old flanker has come on from the bench during the club’s last two league assignments but is promoted into the starting XV for the 3pm Kingsholm kick-off.

Pepper forms part of a Newcastle side showing six changes from last weekend’s visit of Bath, with centre George Wacokecoke set to miss the majority of the season after suffering a fractured and dislocated ankle during the game.

Midfield partner Pete Lucock also picked up an ankle injury in the Kingston Park clash, with Newcastle pairing Tom Penny and Ben Stevenson in the centres for Saturday’s trip to the West Country.

Nathan Earle comes in on the wing following Stevenson’s move infield, with head coach Dave Walder making four changes to his forward pack. Logovi’i Mulipola and George McGuigan are added to the front row, while a head knock in last week’s game sees Matthew Dalton replaced by George Merrick in the second row.

Sean Robinson is added to the replacements following his midweek release from the England squad, while senior academy centre Ewan Greenlaw is in line for his Premiership debut should he come on from the bench.

Walder said: “Sean had two big days’ training with England on Tuesday and Wednesday and got back to Newcastle around 11pm on Wednesday night, which isn’t ideal from a preparation point of view.

“Our geography doesn’t help in terms of the distances the guys have to cover when they go to and from the England camps, especially when we’ve then got a five or six-hour bus trip on Friday to get down to Gloucester.

“We’re used to travelling further than other teams and those long trips are often what helps bond the squad together, but we’ve gone for Sean on the bench this week partly in recognition of his training load and all the travel he has had to do.”

Up against a Cherry and Whites side who have won four of their six games in this season’s Gallagher Premiership, Walder added: “Gloucester are coached very well, they’ve given their guys the time needed to build an identity and get used to each other and they’ve recruited really smartly.

“They’ve got like-for-like in a lot of positions, so when one guy is away they have someone similar to step in. George Skivington as a former second row has them playing a physical brand of rugby, but they’re pretty smart with it.

“They’re a tough prospect, home or away, and they’ve got momentum. It will be a big test for us.”

Juggling his midfield resources due to injuries and international absence, Walder said: “It’s obviously a blow to lose the likes of George and Pete, especially at a time when we have multiple guys in that position away with their countries, but it’s also a chance for other guys to come in and show us what they can do.

“You haven’t got time to feel sorry for yourselves in this sport, so we live within our means and work with what we’ve got. That’s a part of the challenge that I love here at Newcastle, and I’m looking forward to these lads going down to Gloucester and giving it a real good crack.”

Saturday’s game is not being televised in the UK but you can [**click here**][1] to purchase the PRTV Live stream for £4.99.

**Newcastle Falcons team v Gloucester (Saturday, 3pm, Kingsholm)**

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Tom Penny, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain); 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 George Merrick, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick.

**Replacements:** 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Sean Robinson, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Ewan Greenlaw.

**Not available for selection:** Mateo Carreras, Sam Clark, Connor Collett, Matthew Dalton, Trevor Davison, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Conor Kenny, Pete Lucock, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Greg Peterson, Oliver Spencer, Philip van der Walt, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.

**Gloucester:** 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Jack Reeves, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jake Morris, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Charlie Chapman; 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Santiago Socino, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Freddie Clarke, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Jordy Reid, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann.

**Replacements:** 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Ciaran Knight, 18 Kirill Gotovtsev, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Ben Meehan, George Barton, 23 Alex Hearle.

**Referee:** Anthony Woodthorpe.