Preview: Saracens v Newcastle

Date published: October 7 2011

Newcastle coach Alan Tait has made three changes for the Falcons' Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens on Sunday.

Newcastle coach Alan Tait has made three changes for the Falcons' Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens on Sunday.

Regular skipper James Hudson is ruled out of the contest as he begins his four-match suspension for a dangerous tackle carried out against London Irish.

Glen Townson replaces Hudson in the second row while Jimmy Gopperth takes over the captaincy.

Elsewhere in the pack, James Hall starts at prop with Ashley Wells dropping to the bench.

There is just one change in the back division with Chris Pilgrim donning the number nine jersey in place of Will Chudley.

Having ended an eleven-game losing streak when they beat Wasps last weekend, Tait reveals that the mood in the camp is upbeat.

“Last week's result was what we needed and we managed to get over the winning line, so we will go down there full of confidence,” said Tait.

“We got the result we needed and the boys showed plenty of heart and spirit. Obviously losing your captain is going to make things difficult as James [Hudson] is a lineout specialist and runs those plays but it is a great chance for Glen Townson to step up to the plate.

“Saracens have one of the best lineout specialists in the shape of Steve Borthwick and they have a big scrum too. They have a lot of good players in there with a sprinkling of internationals.

“They are a difficult side but we have to go down there and enjoy the day and hopefully upset them. We have to do something to upset them and that's what we will be aiming to do,” he added.

Saracens boss Mark McCall has made four changes for the game, three amongst the forwards and one in the back-line.

Up front, Deon Carstens comes in at prop in place of Rhys Gill while George Kruis takes over the number five jumper from Mouritz Botha, both Gill and Both are named amongst the replacements.

Andy Saull returns at openside flank and with Justin Melck returning to fitness, Will Fraser drops out of the matchday 22 completely.

In the solitary back-line switch, Joe Maddock replaces David Strettle on the wing with the later moving to the bench.

Saracens: Sarcens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Deon Carstens
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Adam Powell, 23 David Strettle

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

Date: Sunday, October 9
Kick-off: 15:00 (14:00 GMT)
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Luke Pearce