Preview: Harlequins v Newcastle

Date published: November 25 2011

Danny Care will make his first start for Harlequins this season in Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle at the Stoop.

Danny Care will make his first start for Harlequins this season in Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle at the Stoop.

Harlequins field a virtually unchanged side from the one that beat Gloucester in round two of the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Care is promoted to the run-on side due to a finger injury to Karl Dickson. The injury rules Dickson out until the New Year period and Richard Bolt is promoted to the bench.

Joe Gray and Chris Brooker rotate positions in the squad, as Brooker starts in the number two shirt, with Gray as cover for Sunday's round nine fixture.

Meanwhile, Newcastle travel with a team showing eight changes (one positional) from their 34-3 Amlin Challenge Cup win against Petrarca Padova.

The majority of the changes come in the back-line with Jeremy Manning moving from fly-half to replace Greg Goosen at full-back, James Fitzpatrick, who is continuing his comeback from injury, replaces Luke Eves at inside centre, while new signing Suka Hufanga starts his first game for the North East club on the left wing.

A change in the half backs sees scrum-half Chris Pilgrim return to the number nine jersey partnering Jimmy Gopperth at fly-half.

In the forward pack James Hall replaces Euan Murray at tighthead prop whilst a shuffle of the back row sees Ally Hogg move to the flank allowing Taiasina Tuifua to make his eagerly anticipated debut at number eight.

After recording two victories in Amlin Challenge Cup, coach Alan Tait is looking forward to making the trip to the capital this weekend.

“Quins are doing very well this term with their unbeaten start and it's an achievement you have to respect,” said Tait.

“However we can't let that overawe us. We will focus on our own game and on giving a good account of ourselves on Sunday.”

Tait has been involved in some memorable Falcons moments against the London based club including three fixtures last season.

“I enjoy playing against Quins, they are a good team and we've enjoyed some success in our recent matches against them,” he added.

“We won our place in last season's LV= Final at the Stoop, were unlucky not to come away with a bonus point in the league down there and the semi-final backed up our 33-18 win at Kingston Park.”

With this weekend marking the first match where the North East club's trio of new signings is involved, Tait is eager to see them in action.

“I've said before that I believe these lads will bring something special to the squad. Tai is a magnificent capture, Adriaan is a tremendous athlete and Suka had a great World Cup. I can't wait to see them out on the field,” he revealed.

Form: Harlequins' incredible start to the new season continued with a twelfth successive win in all competitions at Gloucester in the European Cup on Saturday. Quins eight consecutive victories in the Premiership also represents their best ever run in the history of the tournament. Newcastle Falcons may be residing at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table but they have won their last two games in the European Challenge Cup against Lyon and Petrarca. The Falcons have not won away from home in the Premiership since a trip to Leeds on 27 February. The two clubs shared the two Premiership encounters last season with each team comfortably winning its respective home match. Newcastle won 21-20 at the Twickenham Stoop in the semi-final of last season's Anglo-Welsh Cup but have not won at the venue in the Premiership since 30 September 2000.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Tomas Vallejos, 3 James Johnston, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Tim Fairbrother, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Tom Casson.

Newcastle: 15 Jeremy Manning, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Suka Hufanga, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 8 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 7 Ally Hogg, 6 Tim Swinson, 5 Andrew van der Heijden, 4 James Hudson, 3 James Hall, 2 Michael Mayhew, 1 Ashley Wells.
Replacements: 16 Joe Graham, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 Dan Frazier, 19 Adriaan Fondse, 20 Will Welch, 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Rikki Sheriffe, 23 Greg Goosen.

Date: Sunday, November 27
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Luke Pearce