Planet Rugby

Preview: Newcastle v Sale

02nd January 2014 10:50

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Sinoti Sinoti Aironi training 2012

Sinoti: Making his Falcons debut

New recruit Sinoti Sinoti will make his debut for Newcastle in Friday's Premiership clash with Sale Sharks at Kingston Park.

The Samoan international wing jetted into Newcastle last weekend and joined up with his new team-mates on Monday morning ahead of tomorrow's contest.

Bringing a wealth of experience to the table gained from his time in the Top 14 and Heineken Cup, Sinoti adds firepower to Newcastle Falcons' back-line.

Sinoti's timely inclusion is one of six changes to the side that took on London Wasps last weekend with Mike Blair, Danny Barnes and Adam Powell named in a much changed backline.

Blair returns at scrum-half in place of Chris Pilgrim, while Barnes and Powell form a new centre partnership.

Meanwhile, Falcons boss Dean Richards has rotated his pack with line-out specialist Scott MacLeod getting the nod in the starting XV for the first time since his outing against London Irish in the LV= Cup last November.

Andy Saull rounds off the changes replacing skipper Will Welch in the back-row with Ally Hogg captaining Newcastle in Welch's absence.

Newcastle will be aiming to do the double over Sale after narrowly defeating the Greater Manchester club 15-14 at the AJ Bell Stadium earlier this campaign.

"Sale are a very good side and they thoroughly deserve to be where they are in the table," said Richards, who expects another tough test under the lights at Kingston Park.

"They have some quality individuals in their ranks that can influence games so we will have to on top of our game if we are to get the result that we want," he added.

The northeasterners snatched a losing bonus point when they hosted Wasps last Friday, a feat that was no small part down to the raucous Kingston Park contingent.

"It really makes a difference when you have strong backing from the crowd, and they most certainly drove the lads on in the second-half last week.

"It's going to be a great atmosphere once again and I'm really looking to the challenge," said Richards.

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond has named a strong side for this encounter.

Danny Cipriani has recovered from the flu that kept him out of the game at Leicester on Saturday and starts at fly-half.

Also back is Jonny Leota who teams up again with Sammy Tuitupou in the centres. Tuitupou was cited in the game last weekend but the disciplinary committee gave him clearance to play.

Form: Newcastle Falcons have slipped to five straight defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but at least have broken their try drought, scoring two during last Friday's narrow defeat to London Wasps. The Falcons most recent victory in the tournament was 13-11 at home to London Irish on October 27. Sale Sharks last four Premiership games have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Sharks only away victory in the Premiership since February was 22-16 at Gloucester in Round One. Newcastle have lost just one of their last five encounters with Sale in all tournaments: 19-27 at Edgeley Park in the Premiership on Boxing Day 2011, whilst The Sharks only win in twenty previous visits to Kingston Park in all tournaments was 14-9 in the Premiership on September 7 2008.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg (c), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Franck Montanella, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick

Sale: 15 Robert Miller, 14 Thomas Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Michael Paterson 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Thomas Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Phil Mackenzie

Date: Friday, January 3
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: Andrew Smally
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Robin Goodliffe
Television match official: Trevor Fisher

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