Planet Rugby

Preview: Newcastle v Harlequins

29th November 2013 10:13


ally hogg newcastle

Centurion: Ally Hogg

Ally Hogg will make his 100th appearance for Newcastle Falcons in this Sunday's Aviva Premiership encounter with Harlequins.

The Scotland international, 30, who joined the Falcons from Edinburgh Rugby in the summer of 2009, joins Will Welch in the 100 club with the skipper hitting the magic milestone at home to London Irish last month.

And ahead of this weekend's showdown with Quins, Falcons boss Dean Richards has paid tribute to the experienced back-row.

"Hoggy's been fantastic for the club ever since he arrived here, and I don't think people realise how well he understands the game," said Richards.

"It's a big milestone and a testament to his commitment to the club - he'll be itching to kick-on now and help the club move up the table," he added.

Hogg will lead out a Falcons side that has made one change from last week's trip to Northampton Saints with Kieran Brookes replacing Oliver Tomaszczyk at tighthead.

"Harlequins have got a huge amount of quality in their side from Joe Marler to Nick Easter, to Chris Robshaw to Danny Care, so they are clearly a top side," added Richards.

"You can understand why they won the Premiership the other year, and they will come up here with the viewpoint of getting a result so it will be a hard game.

"Their whole team is a threat and it's a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against some of the very best players in the game, and I'm really looking forward to the contest.

Meanwhile, Harlequins have announced just one change to the side that beat Gloucester in Round Eight as Sam Smith starts on the left wing.

Smith plays in place of Ugo Monye who picked up a knock during last week's game.

Smith will partner Mike Brown and Tom Williams in the back three as the centre and half-back pairings remain the same.

In the forwards, Nick Easter continues as captain behind an unchanged front row, with George Robson, Joe Trayfoot, Luke Wallace and Tom Guest completing the forwards.

Openside flanker Chris Robshaw has been given a second rest week following the Autumn International Test series.

Among the replacements, Paul Doran Jones and Ollie Lindsay-Hague return from injury, while James Chisholm will look to make his first Premiership appearance for the club.

Form: Newcastle Falcons have slipped to back-to-back Premiership defeats at the hands of Saracens and Northampton, scoring just a single penalty goal in the process. The Falcons have won their last two matches at Kingston Park in all tournaments with both victories being against London Irish.

Harlequins have won their last three Premiership matches since their 13-18 reversal against London Irish in Reading on 5th October. Harlequins have not conceded a try bonus point since they visited Exeter in October 2012.

Newcastle's only win over Harlequins in their last seven meetings in the Premiership was 33-18 at Kingston Park in March 2011, whilst Quins most recent victory at Kingston Park in the competition came in November 2006 when Dean Richards was in charge.

The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (c), 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Charlie Walker.

Date: Sunday 1st December
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 1430 (local and GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Graham Hughes

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