Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers

Date published: September 16 2016

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Director of rugby Dean Richards has made three changes to his Newcastle Falcons side for their Premiership clash with Leicester on Sunday.

Ally Hogg comes into the starting line-up. Hogg is drafted in at number eight in a reshuffled back five which sees Mark Wilson move to blindside flanker, Evan Olmstead pushing up to the second-row in place of Will Witty.

Dominic Waldouck makes his first Premiership start for the club at outside centre following the ankle injury suffered by Chris Harris at Bath last weekend, the only other personnel change seeing Sam Lockwood make his first league start for the club following his summer arrival from Jersey.

Keen to move on from last weekend’s defeat at Bath, Richards said: “We have talked about it, we have gone through it and it’s one of those things whereby we know we are far better than we showed in that game.

"We needed to react at certain times to allay the issues around Vereniki Goneva’s yellow card, we as coaches didn’t offer the right advice to the players on the field and the players didn’t make the right decisions.

“As a consequence we went three scores down, there is a responsibility all round in that respect but providing you understand what went wrong it’s easier to sort out. When you don’t know why it went wrong, that’s when the problems arise. For us it is a mind-set issue which we have sorted out this week, and a couple of other issues we have been working on.

“We have put the Bath game to bed now, and you look forward. You can’t look at it any other way. Eight tries to one speaks for itself and nobody is hiding from that. You have to address it, and we have, but there also comes a point where you have to put it behind you. We have now done that and are looking forward, because if you fail to do that you begin to have self-doubts.”

The Falcons were 26-14 victors the last time Leicester visited Kingston Park Stadium in February.

For Leicester, Ben Youngs, Telusa Veainu and Owen Williams return to the backline. Scrum-half Youngs starts his first game of the season, with Veainu back in action after missing the match against Wasps in Round 2 last weekend. Williams joins Peter Betham in the centres after coming off the bench last weekend on his return from an arm injury.

England duo Ellis Genge and Dan Cole join former Newcastle hooker George McGuigan in the front-row, while Graham Kitchener returns at lock.

Mike Williams is included at flanker and starts for the first time since suffering a broken arm in the match against his former club Worcester last year.

Mathew Tait leads the team against his former club with Tom Youngs alongside fellow international front-rower Marcos Ayerza among the replacements. Young flanker Will Evans and scrum-half Jono Kitto are also included on the bench.

Form: Newcastle Falcons beat Sale at Kingston Park on the opening weekend but then suffered their second heaviest defeat in the Premiership going down 5-58 at Bath last Saturday. Leicester Tigers'2-34 defeat at home to Wasps last weekend represented only the second time that Tigers had lost at home in the Premiership with their opponents gaining maximum points and Leicester gaining none. The Tigers won their most recent away game, at Gloucester in Round One, but have not won back-to-back away games in the competition since March 2015. Newcastle’s 26-14 victory over Tigers at Kingston Park in February ended an eleven game losing streak to Leicester in the Premiership.
 
The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Sam Lockwood

Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Witty, 20 Dan Temm, 21 Michael Young, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Belisario Agulla

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Owen Williams, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Ellis Genge

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Will Evans, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Adam Thompstone

Date: Sunday, September 17
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee:  JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Peter Allan, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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