Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers

Date published: February 11 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Marcus_Watson_Newcastle_Falcons

Chris Harris and Marcus Watson return to the Newcastle Falcons starting XV for this Friday’s Premiership match against Leicester Tigers as the club look to extend their home winning streak to five games.

Having beaten Bath and Harlequins in the last two home league games and taken losing bonus points from away games at London Irish and Wasps, a predominantly settled selection will enter the field with a chance to maintain and increase the momentum building behind the team.

Harris’s return sees the Cumbrian back take the outside centre shirt for the eighth time for the club, while Adam Powell moves across to the inside centre berth in place of Juan Pablo Socino, who moves to the bench.

Former England Sevens star Watson’s return will see him line up on the left wing and look to build on his last outing which saw him claim score his debut Aviva Premiership try to back up the six he collected in the group stages of the European competition.

Partnering Watson on the wing Alex Tait will be looking to face off against brother Mathew for the eighth time in his 171st Newcastle Falcons appearance.

Simon Hammersley and Michael Young continue at full-back and scrum-half respectively while Andy Goode makes his first home start for the club after scoring 14 points in his first two Premiership appearances in a Falcons shirt.

The Falcons name an unchanged pack from that which was so combative and solid during last weekend’s Ricoh Arena clash, with Bobby Vickers making his 197th club appearance alongside Scotland international Scott Lawson and Tongan international Taione Vea in the front row.

Mark Wilson and Sean Robinson remain as the second row pairing that have been delivering impressive performances that have been a thorn in the side of their opponents, with the Cumbrian in particular performing to a standard that must be catching the eye of Eddie Jones and the England selectors.

The home side’s pack is completed once again by club captain Will Welch, making his 161st Falcons appearance, Tongan captain Nili Latu and Scotland international Ally Hogg donning the 6, 7 and 8 shirts respectively.

The Falcons bench sees 72-times capped Japanese international Kensuke Hatakeyama, fresh from a starring role in this week’s media session, in line to make his first club appearance since moving to the North East less than two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, international duo Telusa Veainu and Marcos Ayerza return to the Leicester Tigers line-up.

Both men sat out the home defeat by Sale Sharks last weekend but take their places in the starting team at Kingston Park.

Tom Croft reclaims a place in the back row after starting on the bench against Sharks, with Mike Fitzgerald moving into the second row as a replacement for the suspended Dom Barrow.

Laurence Pearce is included among the replacements after missing the last two games, and there is a place in a Premiership matchday squad for the first time for fly-half Oli Bryant.

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Michael Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Nili Latu, 6 Will Welch (c), 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Mark Wilson, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Bobby Vickers
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Alesana Tuilagi, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Juan Pablo Socino

Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Mathew Tait (c), 12 Matt Smith, 11 Gonzalo Camacho, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 
16 Harry Thacker, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Oli Bryant, 23 Jack Roberts

Date: Friday, February 12
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden, Kelvin Stewart
TMO: David Sainsbury

COMMENTS