Preview: Newcastle v Northampton

Date published: September 19 2014

Alesana Tuilagi will make his first start for Newcastle as they try to end a run of 18 Premiership defeats at home to Northampton.

Alesana Tuilagi will make his first start for Newcastle as they try to end a run of 18 straight Premiership defeats at home to Northampton.

Having arrived in the UK in late August, Tuilagi has already made three appearances for the club from the bench but steps up to the starting XV following a knock picked up by Sinoti Sinoti in the act of scoring his try last weekend.

“Alex has worked hard in training since joining up with the squad late in the summer and I'm really pleased for him to get a place in Sunday's starting line-up,” said director of rugby Dean Richards.

The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Mike Blair and Phil Godman lining up and scrum-half and fly-half respectively, Adam Powell and Juan Pablo Socino remaining in the centres with Noah Cato and Simon Hammersley continuing on the wing and at full-back.

In the pack, Kieran Brookes comes into the side at loosehead prop while Scott Wilson makes his first Premiership start for Newcastle at tighthead.

The final change sees Dom Barrow come into the second row for the Falcons, with Josh Furno switching to blindside flanker.

Meanwhile Northampton have made four changes from the team that went down at Wasps including a whole new half-back pairing.

Dylan Hartley skippers the side once more and there is just one change in the pack where Alex Waller comes in for Alex Corbisiero at loosehead.

Ben Foden comes in for James Wilson at full-back, while Will Hooley and Kahn Fotuali'i form a new half-back partnership in place of Stephen Myler and Lee Dickson.

There is also some good news as Dom Waldouck is named on the bench for the first time this season.

Form: Newcastle Falcons' poor run continued with an 18th successive Aviva Premiership defeat at home to London Irish on Sunday, only Worcester last year and Rotherham in the early 2000s have had worse sequences.

However in almost half of these fixtures Falcons have been within a score of their opponents, picking up eight losing bonus points and two try bonuses.

Reigning champions Northampton Saints suffered a first Premiership defeat since April at Wasps on Sunday, but have not been beaten in successive away games since February 2013: losing in Glasgow in the European Cup and at Exeter in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Northampton have won their last eight encounters with Newcastle since the Falcons 19-13 victory at Franklin's Gardens in the Premiership on 28th February 2009.

The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Alex Tuilagi, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Josh Furno, 5 Dom Barrow, 4 Calum Green, 3 Scott Wilson, 2 Scott Lawsons, 1 Kieran Brookes
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi, 23 Sinoti Sinoti.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 James Craig, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Dom Waldouck, 23 James Wilson

Date: Sunday, September 21
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 14.00 BST (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Greg Garner