Preview: Newcastle v Gloucester

Date published: December 2 2011

Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait has rung the changes ahead of Friday's crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester.

Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait has rung the changes ahead of Friday's key Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester at Kingston Park.

Seven changes in all have been made to the side that locked horns with Harlequins last week, with Jordi Pasqualin the most notable inclusion against his former club.

In-form Greg Goosen starts at full-back while Corne Uys partners James Fitzpatrick at the heart of the Falcons' back-line, with Ryan Shortland getting the nod on the wing.

Grant Shiells and Euan Murray occupy the front-row while Will Welch comes in at flanker to round off the changes.

Pasqualin, 21, who joined the northeasterners from the Cherry and Whites last summer cannot wait for Friday's showdown.

“It's a game I have been looking forward to and as a player you always want to put in a good performance if you're playing against your old club,” he said.

The Falcons will be aiming to make it five games unbeaten in all competitions at home when Gloucester are in town, something that the Sheffield-born half-back is keen to extend.

“Gloucester haven't won here for three seasons and we will be trying our best to make this the fourth,” said Pasqualin.

“They are a quality side with great capability but we can give them a good game and make the most of our home advantage,” he added.

The Kingston Park unit will be buoyed by the return of Euan Murray who adds invaluable experience to the pack.

Murray, 31, took time out after training to give his thoughts in the build up to the game and admits he is ready to do battle with the West Countryman.

“We have to focus on the job in hand and not think about the overall position that we are in. It is crucial that we concentrate on all of the individual aspects of the game,” he said.

“If you get a scrum you give it 100 per cent and if you get a line-out you give it 100 per cent.”

Approaching his one year anniversary with the North East outfit, Murray is itching to claim victory over Bryan Redpath's talented side.

“They are strong all over the pitch with internationals throughout the team and it will certainly be a big game,” said Murray.

“They play very direct and we have watched a bit of what they can do in moving the ball about. They have good runners in the backs and have a tight defence,” he added.

Meanwhile, Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath has made five changes to his starting line-up, including the return of Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu in the midfield.

The Samoan international is back after a three week suspension and partners Mike Tindall in the Gloucester midfield.

Other changes in the back line see James Simpson-Daniel and Tom Voyce back on the wings and Dave Lewis replace Rory Lawson at scrum-half.

Meanwhile, it's the same pack that started against the Leicester Tigers last weekend with the exception of the return of hooker Scott Lawson.

Form: Newcastle's solitary victory in the Aviva Premiership this season remains their 15-10 win at home to London Wasps in Round Five. The Falcons are unbeaten in their last four games at Kingston Park in all competitions since Leicester won there in the Premiership on September 17.Gloucester have won just one of their last half a dozen encounters in all competitions: 24-19 at Exeter in their Aviva Premiership clash on November 5 – this victory represents Gloucester's only one on the road since last February. The last seven clashes between the two clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Cherry & Whites have not won at Kingston Park since a visit there in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2008.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Suka Hufanga, 13 Corne Uys, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Jordi Pasqualin, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Taiasina Tuifua, 5 Andrew Van Der Heijden, 4 James Hudson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Michael Mayhew, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Joe Graham, 17 Ashley Wells, 18 Dan Frazier, 19 Adriaan Fondse, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Jamie Helleur, 23 Tom Catterick.

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Will James, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Dan Murphy,18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Rory Lawson, 22 Tim Taylor, 23 Henry Trinder.

Date: Friday, December 2
Venue: Kingston Park.
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner