Preview: London Welsh v Newcastle

Date published: October 10 2014

London Welsh have made five changes for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Newcastle Falcons at the Kassam Stadium.

London Welsh have made five changes for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Newcastle Falcons at the Kassam Stadium.

All of those changes come in the forwards. Pablo Henn and Nathan Morris start at loosehead and hooker respectively in place of Ricky Reeves and Koree Britton. Matt Corker partners James Down in the second row, with Dean Schofield named among the replacements.

Richard Thorpe returns at openside in place of Lachlan McCaffrey, while Chris Hala’ufia makes his first start for the Exiles at number eight in place of Ollie Stedman.

“Saturday is a massive challenge for us, but we’re looking forward to the game,” said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.

“We had a good look at ourselves on Monday straight after Harlequins. It was disappointing; you cannot make errors in this league and that has been the biggest learning curve for all of us, but we have got a performance in us.

“The losses are disappointing and the squad from last year have got used to winning habits, but they’re a good bunch and the whole environment is a good place. But you can’t hide away from the fact that we’re very disappointed with our results and our performances.

“We’re very proud to be in the Aviva Premiership, we’ve now just got to go up another level or find that magical formula that is missing at the moment. But when you talk about spirit and work ethic, I could never question that.

“We’re at home on Saturday and we want that extra bit of noise from that loyal band of supporters who are so important to us.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons have announced an unchanged team as the North East club look to record back-to-back league wins for the first time in a year.

In what will be the first meeting between the two sides in the Premiership, Alex Tait makes his second start of the year in the full-back position while on the wings, Noah Cato and Sinoti Sinoti will be out to add to their try tally of the season which currently stands at two apiece.

In the centres the burgeoning partnership between Adam Powell and Gonzalo Tiesi continues, with Powell one of five players who have features in all of the Falcons matches so far this term.

In the half-backs, Juan Pablo Socino’s sixth start will see him continue a half-back pairing with Ruki Tipuna with both players looking to conduct play at the upbeat tempo of recent weeks.

In the front row, England prop Kieran Brookes and Scotland hooker Scott Lawson pack down alongside talented young tight-head Scott Wilson, who makes his third Aviva Premiership start.

In the second row, Dom Barrow and Callum Green remain alongside each other with Green another ever present feature of teams so far who will be looking to build on an impressive showing against Exeter, which saw the man from Norwich top the leagues tackle chart last weekend with 23 made in a formidable defensive effort.

Completing the line up Mark Wilson occupies the blindside flank, while captain Will Welch and Ally Hogg round out those making their sixth start in six games.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s fixture, Director of Rugby Dean Richards said: “It was hard to single individuals out for a good performance against Exeter, everyone played well and as a result all of those boys deserve the opportunity to represent the club again tomorrow.”

“We know London Welsh will be bringing everything they’ve got into tomorrow’s name and are under no illusions that it will be an easy game for us. However, we’ve been working hard this week to rectify the small things from last weekend and will be hoping to carry on our momentum for another week.”

Form: Falcons ended a twenty-game losing streak in Aviva Premiership Rugby with their 29-24 victory at home to Exeter on Sunday. Next up is a first ever Aviva Premiership meeting with London Welsh and the chance to pick up a first away victory since their 16-11 win over Worcester Warriors on 5th October 2013. Their opponents meanwhile will be hoping the encounter brings an end to their own winless streak, having failed to win in five games since their promotion to the Aviva Premiership. The two sides have only played each other on two occasions in the league previously, winning a game each in Division Two in 1988 at McCracken Park, when the Falcons were known as Gosforth.

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Nic Reynolds, 12 Tom May (c), 11 Nick Scott, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Chris Hala’ufia, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Pete Browne, 5 James Down, 4 Matt Corker, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Nathan Morris, 1 Pablo Henn
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Ben Pienaar, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Tristan Roberts, 23 Rhys Crane.

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Noah Cato, 10 Juan Pablo Socino, 9 Ruki Tupina, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Calum Green, 3 Scott Wilson, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Kieran Brookes
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Josh Furno, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Mike Blair, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Tom Catterick

Date: Saturday, October 11
Venue: Kassam Stadium
Kickoff: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege & Nigel Carrick
TMO: Geoff Warren