Preview: Newcastle v Gloucester

Date published: November 20 2014

Newcastle have made several changes to their starting line-up for Friday’s Premiership clash against Gloucester at Kingston Park.

Newcastle Falcons have made several changes to their starting XV for Friday’s clash against Gloucester at Kingston Park.

In all, Falcons’ director of rugby Dean Richards has made six changes in personnel and a further two positional switches.

Three changes in the backs sees Alex Tait come in for Simon Hammersley at full-back, Mike Blair replace Ruki Tipuna and Rory Clegg assume fly-half duties, as Juan Pablo Socino moves to inside centre in place of Adam Powell.

On the wings, Samoan duo Sinoti Sinoti and Alesana Tuilagi remain in place and ready to build on performances against Bath at The Rec which saw the headline facets of their individual styles on full display, while Gonzalo Tiesi continues to provide an experienced linchpin at outside centre.

In the forwards, a re-jig of the front row sees Scott Lawson and Oliver Tomaszczyk move up from the bench for George McGuigan and Scott Wilson, while Rob Vickers continues at loosehead prop.

The second-row partnership between Dom Barrow and Calum Green will continue to pack down together for a further week while in the back row, Ally Hogg will build on his successful return from injury last weekend by starting at number eight.

On the flanks, Andy Saull remains in place at openside while Mark Wilson moves across to the blindside in the other positional change from the game against Bath.

On the bench, George McGuigan, Alex Rogers and Scott Wilson provide the cover for the front row while fresh from his Aviva Premeirship debut last weekend, Sean Robinson joins Chris York to provide cover for the second and back rows.

Scrum-half cover will be provided by Ruki Tipuna while the replacements are completed with Adam Powell and Hammersley providing cover for the back line.

Meanwhile, there are three changes to Gloucester’s starting line-up with full-back Steve McColl making his first Premiership start for the club.

McColl, a summer signing from Yorkshire Carnegie, comes in for Rob Cook who dislocated his shoulder against Harlequins last weekend.

Other changes see Billy Burns replace Billy Twelvetrees at fly-half, the latter recalled by England for Saturday’s Test against Samoa and Yann Thomas come in for Nick Wood who has been unwell this week.

Matt Kvesic will skipper the side.

Form:Newcastle Falcons’ two game winning run in Aviva Premiership Rugby ended at Bath on Saturday. The Falcons won their most recent fixtures at Kingston Park in the tournament, but have not won back-to-back matches at the venue in Premiership Rugby since March 2009. Gloucester have been defeated in their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby games but have not lost three in a row in the competition since the start of 2014. Gloucester have won just twice on the road in the tournament in 2014, at Exeter in March and at London Welsh in September. The two clubs met on three occasions last season, twice in Aviva Premiership Rugby and once in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, with all games being won by Gloucester.

The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg (c), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Calum Green, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers 18 Scott Wilson 19 Sean Robinson 20 Chris York 21 Warren Fury 22 Adam Powell 23 Simon Hammersley.

Gloucester: 15 Steve McColl, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Meakes, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Matt Kvesic (c), 6 Tom Savage, 5 James Hudson, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 John Afoa, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 James Gibbons, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Tom Isaacs.

Date: Friday, November 21
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 20:00 local (GMT)
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Ashley Rowden, Andy WatsonTelevision match official: Trevor Fisher