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Preview: London Irish v Newcastle

23rd September 2011 11:24

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Topsy Ojo london irish v newcastle

Exiles flyer: Topsy Ojo

New Zealand international Bryn Evans starts for London Irish in Saturday's Aviva Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at Madejski Stadium.

Evans's inclusion is the only change to the side that beat Northampton Saints. Hewill start at blindside flanker after coming off the bench last weekend. Declan Danaher has been named as a replacement after from recovering from injury.

"We are excited to be back playing at the Madejski Stadium after being on the road for the last three rounds.," said London Irish head coach Toby Booth.

"It is great to have Declan Danaher available for selection again. We know Newcastle will be up for it after losing narrowly last week. We need to build momentum after last week's victory over Northampton."

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons have made five changes to their side.

Jordi Pasqualin gets the nod at scrum-half, while Kiwi Ryan Shortland comes in for the injured Luke Fielden on the wing. Samoan Jamie Helleur makes a welcome return at inside centre replacing James Fitzpatrick, who is expected to be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks with a hernia injury.

Hooker Joe Graham replaces Rob Vickers ,who will be out of action for two to three months with a serious knee injury, sustained during last week's narrow 27-26 defeat to Leicester Tigers.

In the absence of Vickers' experience, head coach Alan Tait can recall Ally Hogg to the forward pack following the birth of his child.

"It is a squad game and looking at the injuries and guys getting tired, we have got to freshen things up," said Tait.

"I have always sat on the fence with young Jordi Pasqualin, Chris Pilgrim and Will Chudley and there is not much between them. I have decided to give young Jordi a crack this weekend.

"I have also brought Ally Hogg back into the team and he seems to be over his pregnancy and all his worries! We have lost Rob Vickers so it is great to get Hoggy [Ally Hogg] back in the team with his leadership qualities. Jamie Helleur is back too so it is great to get some experience back in the team," added Tait.

Form: London Irish ended a four game losing sequence in Aviva Premiership Rugby with their narrow 14-13 victory at Northampton on Saturday afternoon. Newcastle Falcons came within four minutes of ending their unwanted ten game winless run against Leicester at Kingston Park last time out. Newcastle's only away victory in the Premiership over the past two seasons was 22-5 at Leeds on 27 February 2011. The Exiles did the Premiership double over the Falcons last campaign, whilst Newcastle's single victory at Madejski Stadium since February 2006 was 15-11 on 22 November 2009.

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The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Steve Shingler, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Alex Gray, 6 Bryn Evans, 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 David Paice, 1 Clarke Dermody (c).
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Mark George, 19 James Sandford, 20 Declan Danaher, 21 Guy Armitage, 22 Anthony Watson, 23 Paul Hodgson

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Luke Eves, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Jordi Pasqualin, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Ashley Wells, 2 Joe Graham, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Darren Fearn, 18 James Hall, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Redford Pennycook, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Rikki Sheriffe, 23 Tom Catterick.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small

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