Team news: Qorowale to make debut at Leicester

Thursday 25 August 2022 Written by: Adam

The 7pm kick-off at Mattioli Woods Welford Road sees the Falcons going with a 31-man squad – their other pre-season friendly being the trip to Doncaster Knights on Friday September 2 before the Premiership campaign starts at home to Harlequins on Saturday September 10.

Qorowale (pictured) starts on the right wing after joining from the British Army, with lock-forward Peters having made the move from Doncaster. Three further new arrivals are named among the replacements, which include scrum-half Josh Barton (Coventry), fly-half Josh Thomas (Ospreys) and lock Sebastian de Chaves (Austin Gilgronis).

Head coach Dave Walder, who is now in charge of first-team affairs, said: “We want to test ourselves against as good an opposition as we can, and Leicester away is about as tough as it gets.

“A lot of it is about game time, getting that first hit-out and checking where things are, and then the following Friday away to Doncaster will be another good test against a club who have Premiership ambitions. We feel like we’re in a good place with the work we’ve put in, and we have two important tests now to make sure we’re ready for Quins at home on September 10.

“Friday at Leicester is the first proper chance we’ll have to check our game understanding under real pressure.

“We obviously work hard in training but ultimately you’re running your own attack against your own defence, and people can get into habits. Friday is an opportunity to put that under some more pressure and see what further improvements we can make going into the Harlequins game two weeks on Saturday.”

Walder and his squad have spent most of the week in Yorkshire at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, building on a summer of hard work.

“Camp has been really useful for us and we’ve got a lot of good work done during that time,” he said.

“It’s great to get the squad together, and as well as the training and meetings it’s about spending time together off the pitch. You get a better understanding of their learning and where they are, although to be fair this season we’ve been spending more time together with some of the changes we’ve put in place, like having a team room at Kingston Park.

“It’s nice to see players in a different environment, getting to know each other a little more broadly away from rugby, and there’s a good harmony in the group.

“Even for the coaching and backroom team, we’re used to seeing each other all day at work where we’re eating, breathing and sleeping rugby, but you come away to camp and unwind together as well. The coaches are unbeaten on the pool table – we’ve been dominating the physios and other staff all week – and it’s just those little relationships that help tighten the group.”

Despite naming a 31-man squad the Falcons are without a host of players due to injuries, suspension and international call-ups, with Walder explaining a number of the absentees.

He said: “Connor Collett is out with a hamstring injury until around late September or early October having recovered from a shoulder operation, Sam Stuart is around the same timeframe after having surgery on his foot, Adam Brocklebank has had bicep surgery, Philip van der Walt did his ACL at the end of last season, Chidera Obonna is in a boot after rolling his ankle and Tom Penny is out with a hamstring.”

Friday’s game will be live-streamed free of charge by Leicester Tigers, although registration is required by [**clicking here**][1]. A link will be emailed out by Leicester on Friday at 5pm for those who have registered.

**Newcastle Falcons team to face Leicester Tigers (Friday, 7pm, Mattioli Woods Welford Road):**

15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereimi Qorowale, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Zach Kerr, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young; 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 George Merrick, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Gary Graham, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Tom Marshall.

**Replacements:** 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Conor Kenny, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Matt Deehan, 7 Marcus Tiffen, 8 Carl Fearns, 9 Josh Barton, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 10 Josh Thomas, 11 Nathan Earle, 12 Ewan Greenlaw, 13 George Wacokecoke, 14 Adam Radwan, 15 Iwan Stephens.

**Not available for selection:** Jamie Blamire, Adam Brocklebank, Mateo Carreras, Callum Chick, Connor Collett, Trevor Davison, Louie Johnson, Matias Moroni, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Tom Penny, Guy Pepper, Sean Robinson, Tian Schoeman, Sam Stuart, Philip van der Walt.

**Leicester Tigers:** 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Harry Potter, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 James Cronin, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Eli Snyman, 6 George Martin, 7 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 8 Sean Jansen.

**Replacements:** Tom Horton, Joe Taufete’e, James Whitcombe, Francois van Wyk, Will Hurd, Nephi Leatigaga, Finn Carnduff, Lewis Chessum, Cameron Henderson; Sam Edwards, Richard Wigglesworth, Bryce Hegarty, Phil Cokanasiga, Kini Murimurivalu, Nemani Nadolo, Hosea Saumaki, Jed Walsh.

**Referee:** Hamish Smales.