Team news: Three changes for Bath trip

Friday 24 September 2021 Written by: Adam

Fellow prop Adam Brocklebank also comes into the starting XV for the Gallagher Premiership clash at the Recreation Ground – the only other change from Sunday’s 26-20 home loss to champions Harlequins seeing Will Haydon-Wood start at fly-half.

The 20-year-old is making his fourth senior appearance for the club, and his first Premiership start, having made his debut during last season’s European Challenge Cup win away to French side, Castres.

On the bench there is a return for Scotland international Gary Graham who scored two of the Falcons’ three tries on their last visit to Bath – a 19-12 away win in last season’s opening fixture.

Looking to build on the promise shown from Sunday’s battling bonus point against Harlequins, director of rugby Dean Richards said: “There were a huge amount of positives for us last week.

“The nice thing was that the boys were disappointed in the changing room afterwards talking about how they could improve it, rather than celebrating getting the bonus point.

“I thought a lot of our young boys stood up incredibly well, we showed a lot of ambition and weren’t always rewarded despite getting over the opposition’s try-line on a number of occasions.

“We’ll take the positives from that and move forward, and that begins at Bath on Saturday.”

With many of the headlines focusing on Adam Radwan and Iwan Stephens’ try-scoring contribution from the wing last time out, Richards said: “Both of our wingers looked sharp, Ben Stevenson is no slouch in the centres and Tom Penny at full-back is also a very dangerous runner.

“They showed it last weekend, and Bath away is another great challenge for us.

“I love the gladiatorial contest element of rugby, like we spoke about last week, but it’s also great to see that exciting running element from the guys in our squad. You can’t have one without the other, and when our guys let rip the crowd just love it.”

Fielding nine current or former Falcons academy players in his starting XV and a further four on the bench, Richards said: “We’re getting big numbers of academy graduates in our match-day squads, and that’s a great endorsement of what we’re doing up here.

“We’re going in the right direction, we’ve got boys coming through the system in good numbers and then as we’ve seen this week our guys are being recognised in the England squads.

“We’ve got four in the senior training squad, and Mark Wilson would have been in with a shout had he not just underwent a meniscus operation on his knee which will likely keep him out for around 8 to 12 weeks.

“It’s obviously a blow having Mark out for that sort of length of time, but the plus side is it should get him right, and he’ll be back to his best when he does return. We’re also blessed in that area by having the likes of Gary Graham and Callum Chick now available for selection again, as well as the guys who were already in back-row contention.”

Saturday’s match is not being televised in the UK but there is live audio commentary on the BBC Rugby website, plus in-game twitter updates from @falconsrugby .

**Newcastle Falcons team to face Bath Rugby (Saturday, 3pm, the Recreation Ground)**

15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Carl Fearns.

**Replacements:** 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Brett Connon, 23 George Wacokecoke.

**Bath Rugby:** 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ollie Fox; 1 Juan Schoeman, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Johannes Jonker, 4 Mike Williams, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 6 Miles Reid, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Josh Bayliss.

**Replacements:** 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Beno Obano, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Max Green, 22 Will Butt, 23 Max Clark.