Team news: Wingers return to face Irish

Friday 07 May 2021 Written by: Adam

Radwan, who has scored 32 tries in his 42 appearances for the club, is back to full fitness having been out with a knee injury picked up during the 25-22 home win over Harlequins in February.

Stevenson, who has scored three Premiership tries this season, returns after missing the trip to Gloucester two weeks ago, forming part of a side showing four changes from the Kingsholm clash.

Captain Mark Wilson is back to lead a starting XV which includes nine academy graduates, while Springbok cap Louis Schreuder comes in at scrum-half.

Barnstorming back-rower Carl Fearns could be set for his Falcons debut having been named on the bench for the 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium, with fly-half Joel Hodgson returning to the match-day 23.

Keen to end the campaign strongly as they enter the last five rounds of league action, director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We had a great start to the season but we’ve been hampered by things like Covid and injuries, and we just want to end on a high.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to blood some of our youngsters, which will be good in the long run, and we’re going to use these last five games in a really positive way.”

Having led at Gloucester last time out only to be hit by a second-half comeback, the Falcons boss said: “We always talk about consistency, and that’s what you aim for.

“At Gloucester we played really well for just over half an hour but dropped off afterwards – a lot of it due to injuries in key positions and a pretty strong wind, in fairness.

“We’ve tried to freshen the boys up a bit, because they were pretty jaded and tired after the Gloucester game. They’ve had time to recuperate, they’ve come back fresh and we’re all just looking forward to the London Irish game now.”

Newcastle lost an entertaining game 31-22 when the two teams met in Brentford in January, Richards saying: “When we played London Irish earlier in the season I said with the squad they’ve got and the outlay they’ve made – they’re a serious top-four contender.

“They’ve bought a huge amount of experience, and when we played them down there they had the most international caps out of any forward pack to have played in the Premiership.

“They’re a good side, but if we go out there and put out the performance we’ve prepared for it’ll be a great game.”

**Newcastle Falcons team to face London Irish (Saturday, 3pm, Kingston Park Stadium, live on BT Sport Extra 3)**

15 Tom Penny

14 Adam Radwan

13 Matias Orlando

12 Luther Burrell

11 Ben Stevenson

10 Brett Connon

9 Louis Schreuder

1 Trevor Davison

2 George McGuigan

3 Logovi’i Mulipola

4 Greg Peterson

5 Sean Robinson

6 Will Welch

7 Mark Wilson (captain)

8 Callum Chick


16 Jamie Blamire

17 Kyle Cooper

18 Mark Tampin

19 Philip van der Walt

20 Carl Fearns

21 Sam Stuart

22 Joel Hodgson

23 George Wacokecoke

**London Irish:** 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Phil Cokanasiga, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 George Nott, 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Albert Tuisue

**Replacements:** 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Ben Donnell, 21 Nic Groom 22 Jacob Atkins, 23 James Stokes.

**Referee:** Craig Maxwell-Keys