Team news: Radwan returns against London Irish

Friday 02 December 2022 Written by: Adam

Ben Stevenson and Matias Moroni both move one place infield, with Radwan coming onto the right wing as the Falcons set out in search of their third consecutive league victory.

Last week’s replacements Logovi’i Mulipola, Matias Orlando, Sean Robinson and Freddie Lockwood all miss out due to injuries picked up in the 24-21 home win over Exeter Chiefs, with Mark Tampin, Tian Schoeman, Matthew Dalton and Tom Marshall called up.

Michael Young once again captains the side from scrum-half, with head coach Dave Walder expecting a tough test as the Falcons go hunting their third consecutive Premiership victory.

He said: “We’re putting a lot of significance on finishing this block with three Premiership wins, but London Irish are a good side.

“Nobody in the league has got more bonus points than them this season, and they cause teams a lot of problems. Things just haven’t gone their way in certain games but we’re very aware they’re going to threaten us, and we’ll need to get our own game right to have a chance of winning.

“We’re really looking forward to going down there on the back of a couple of good wins in the league, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve still got plenty of bits and pieces to tighten up on, and it’s about finding that balance of highlighting your good work whilst also acknowledging where you need to improve.

“London Irish will be desperate to get their season on track, we’re very aware it’s a huge game for them but it’s also a really significant one for ourselves in terms of really pushing and looking up the table.”

Having been involved in a number of close battles in recent weeks, Walder said: “The Premiership is as competitive as I’ve ever seen it, and every week there seems to be a load of games going down to the wire.

“It makes for a great spectacle, and if you come out on the right side of it it makes you feel a lot better. One of these days we might actually win a game where the result’s not in jeopardy going into the last couple of minutes, but until then we’ll just continue giving everyone a bit of drama!

“Mark Laycock has taken charge of the attack this season, he has changed a few things and we’re playing a great brand of rugby. We’re scoring more tries now than we have done for a while, and it’s something we can really build on as we look to move the club forward.”

Saturday’s game will be the Falcons’ first outing since the sad news of Doddie Weir’s passing, with the Falcons legend receiving widespread tributes from within the game and beyond.

“It’s very sad news about Doddie, he’s been in all of our thoughts and I’m sure clubs throughout the competition will be paying appropriate tributes to him,” said Walder, who scored the winning try for the Falcons in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final, when Weir captained the side.

“There are lots of pictures of him around our stadium, and it’s been nice in those quiet moments during the week to go round and have a look at him lifting a trophy, taking a line-out and just having that smile on his face which everyone associates him with.

“We’ve all got great memories of Doddie, and even before the news came through over the weekend we had his partner in crime, Gary Armstrong, come in to speak to the players last week. Gary spoke about how much it meant for him to play for Newcastle Falcons, having fun and battling for your mates, which very much typifies how Doddie used to approach things.”

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**Newcastle Falcons team v London Irish (Saturday, 3pm, Gtech Community Stadium)**

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Matias Moroni, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Carl Fearns.

**Replacements:** 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Conrad Cade, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Tom Penny.

**Not available for selection:** Phil Brantingham, Sam Clark, Connor Collett, Gary Graham, Louie Johnson, Conor Kenny, Freddie Lockwood, Pete Lucock, Logovi’i Mulipola, Matias Orlando, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, Philip van der Walt, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.

**Referee:** Wayne Barnes.