Preview: Newcastle v Leeds

Date published: December 27 2010

Euan Murray may make his Newcastle debut in Monday's Aviva Premiership showdown against Leeds Carnegie at Kingston Park.

Euan Murray may make his debut for Newcastle in Monday's Aviva Premiership showdown against Leeds Carnegie at Kingston Park.

The 30-year-old British & Irish Lions prop is named amongst a strong Falcons outfit, as head coach Alan Tait looks to move up the Aviva Premiership table.
Micky Young is recalled to the Falcons ranks following a spell on the sideline, with recent recruit Jason Spice providing cover on the bench.
On Thursday a delighted Murray spoke of his determination to do well for the northeasterners, saying: “This is a massive club with a lot of ambition and I can't wait to get stuck in and help the team get up the league and achieve some success. I've heard it's a lovely area with nice people and it's right on the coast which is another bonus.
“Alan made it clear that he really wanted me here and it was a club that I felt would get behind me in a way that I could give my absolute all for, and that's what I want to do here.”

Meanwhile, England duo Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie are set to play in the Aviva Premiership for Leeds for the first time since 22nd October.

Coaching duo Andy Key and Neil Back have only made a handful of changes to the side that played at Crociati last week in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Gareth Hardy and Phil Swainston will start in the front row alongside Thompson whilst Lachlan MacKay starts at fly-half and Ceiron Thomas reverts to full back for the trip to the North East.

Otherwise the backline is unchanged with Henry Fa'afili looking to continue his good recent form alongside Scott Barrow in the centres.

USA international Mike MacDonald is set to make only his seventh appearance of the season in all competitions after being named as a replacement.

Form: Leeds are unbeaten in their last three encounters with Newcastle since the Falcons 21-19 victory at Kingston Park on 5 October 2007. Newcastle Falcons have won just one of their last seven Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters: 12-6 at home to Gloucester on 21 November. The Falcons have won four of their last five home games in all competitions. Leeds have won just three matches this season – all in the European Challenge Cup. Leeds are winless in the Premiership since 25 April when they beat Worcester 12-10 at Headingley Carnegie.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Jeremy Manning, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Gcobani Bobo, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Redford Pennycook, 6 Will Welch, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson (c), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Kieran Brookes, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Tim Ryan, 19 Filipo Levi, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Jason Spice, 22 James Fitzpatrick, 23 Danny Williams.

Leeds: 15 Ceiron Thomas, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Henry Fa'afili, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Michael Stephenson, 10 Lachlan MacKay, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Rhys Oakley, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Tom Denton, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Steve Thompson 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements:16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Danny Paul, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Leigh Hinton.

Date: Monday, December 27
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes