Preview: Newcastle v Wasps

Date published: September 30 2011

South African centre Corne Uys will make his Falcons debut for Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with London Wasps at Kingston Park.

South African centre Corne Uys will make his Falcons debut for Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with London Wasps at Kingston Park.

The 29-year-old, who arrived on Tyneside last week, will form a mouth-watering partnership with Samoan Jamie Helleur at the heart of the Newcastle backline.

Last season's top try-scorer Luke Fielden returns to the wing while Will Chudley starts at number nine for the first time this campaign. The pack is unchanged from last week with back row forward Mark Wilson amongst the replacements.

On arriving to Kingston Park new signing, Uys expressed his delight with his new surroundings in the North East.

“The club is ambitious and wants to go places,” said Uys.

“I heard Newcastle might be interested – I did some research and with the awesome fan-base that the club has it seemed like a perfect fit,” he added.

Uys made the switch from South African outfit Free State Cheetahs and is now relishing the prospect of going head to head with the Londoners this weekend.

“Hopefully I can contribute right across the board and we need a win. I need to settle first, getting to know the people and the culture over the next few weeks,” he said.

Falcons' goal-kicking sensation Jimmy Gopperth acknowledges the threat posed by a talented Wasps unit, who have made a steady start to this term.

“Wasps have had a decent start to the season and they certainly have some good players with Riki Flutey in there,” said the Golden Boot winner for the last two seasons.

“He should be at the World Cup as he is a class player and one who will cause us some problems in attack. We will have to watch out for him and their winger rapid out wide so we will have to take care of him.”

Meanwhile, London Wasps travel to Newcastle this weekend looking to get back to winning ways after a couple of defeats in recent weeks.

Director of Rugby Dai Young has made three changes to the starting team, with John Hart back at number eight to captain the side, Hugo Southwell returning at full-back and Ben Broster taking his place in the front row.

Hart's return sees Ross Filipo shift to the second row with Marco Wentzel out due to injury.

A youthful bench is retained for the game – in fact youth is a key facet throughout the team with six players aged 20 or under in the matchday squad.

“It's an important game for us in the sense that every game of the season is important,” said Young.

“What we need to ensure is that we improve in the areas that let us down last weekend, cut the penalties out and get parity up front.

“If we can do that then I'm confident we can get the right result, but travelling to a team scrapping for their first win of the season is always going to be a tough trip. We're still finding our feet as a team and I'm expecting the guys to take another step forward this weekend.”

Form: Newcastle Falcons have not tasted success in Aviva Premiership Rugby since they beat Harlequins 33-18 at Kingston Park on 4 March. Their six successive home defeats is their poorest run on home soil since they were playing in the old Division Two in season 1995/96. London Wasps have lost their last two matches against Sale and Exeter and are winless on the road at an opponent's regular home ground since their trip to Bath on 27 November 2010. Both encounters in the Premiership last season were won by the respective home teams, whilst Wasps have won on five of their last six visits to Kingston Park in all competitions.

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The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Corne Uys, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 James Hudson (c), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Ashley Wells, 2 Joe Graham, 1 Grant Shiells
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Darren Fearn, 18 James Hall, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Luke Eves, 23 Alex Tait.

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Nic Berry, 8 John Hart (c), 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Jeremy Castex, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Joe Burton, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Jonah Holmes, 22 Elliot Daly, 23 Richard Haughton.
Date: Sunday October 2
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15.30 (13.30 GMT)
Referee: Sean Davey