Planet Rugby



Preview: Newcastle v Harlequins

01st March 2012 12:32


Rob Vickers

100 not out: Rob Vickers

Harlequins welcome back Mike Brown, Jordan Turner-Hall and Joe Marler from international duty for Friday's Aviva Premiership clash against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.

Having won two of their last three Aviva Premiership games and after securing an important losing bonus-point against Gloucester, Quins will look to finish off the four-game block of fixtures in a positive manner.

Brown starts at full-back with Ugo Monye and Tom Williams occupy the wings. Jordan Turner-Hall and George Lowe continue in the centres alongside Nick Evans at fly-half. Danny Care starts at scrum-half, with Karl Dickson looking to make an impact from the bench.

Marler and James Johnston are partnered in the front row with Chris Brooker, as Joe Gray picked up an injury against Gloucester last week.

Olly Kohn and Tomas Vallejos complete the front five, while Luke Wallace returns to the starting line-up at openside flanker. Nick Easter continues as captain at number eight while Tom Guest completes the back row.

The bench sees Rob Buchanan return, with Mark Lambert and Tim Fairbrother completing the front-row cover. Pete Browne and Will Skinner cover the back five, while Karl Dickson and Rory Clegg provide the specialist cover for the half-backs. Matt Hopper will cover the remainder of the backs.

Meanwhile, Newcastle stalwart Rob Vickers will make it a century of appearances when he marches out for the Falcons.

The 30-year-old hooker made his Falcons debut during the 2006-07 season, having come through the club's successful academy system while a student at Durham University.

Yorkshireman, Vickers came to the fore during the 2009-10 campaign, scoring three tries in his 30 appearances to earn himself the Falcons Player of the Season award.

His impressive form was enough to see him named in the England Saxons squad which won the 2010 Churchill Cup.

Newcastle director of rugby Gary Gold has made two changes as he aims to make it four consecutive victories on home soil.

Adriaan Fondse returns to the engine room after serving his one week suspension for an altercation with Delon Armitage during their 19-10 win over London Irish a fortnight ago.

Giant Samoan international Taiasina Tu'ifua gets the nod at blindside flanker with Ally Hogg moving to number eight and Mark Wilson dropping to the bench.

New signings James Goode and Adam Balding are amongst the replacements.

"If we front up and stick to our game-plan and we execute things to the level that we are striving for, hopefully the scoreboard will be in our favour," said Gold.

"What Conor O'Shea has built at Harlequins is incredible considering his side came back from relegation just a few years ago.

"I can only imagine what a fantastic environment it must be down at Harlequins."

Form: Newcastle's last seven matches in all competitions have all been won by the home side on the day. The Falcons have won their last three games at Kingston Park since their 10-16 defeat there by Exeter in the Aviva Premiership on January 7. Harlequins continue to top the Aviva Premiership table despite three defeats in their last six fixtures. Quins have lost their last four away games in all competitions. The Falcons have won just one of their last six Premiership encounters against Harlequins: 33-18 at Kingston Park in this equivalent fixture last season.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Tom Bedford, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Jeremy Manning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch, 6 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Jonny Golding, 18 Ashley Wells, 19 James Goode, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Adam Balding, 22 Will Chudley, 23 Alex Tait.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Tom Guest, 5 Tomas Vallejos, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Tim Fairbrother, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Will Skinner, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Matt Hopper.

Date: Friday, 3 March
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
Referee: Andrew Small

  • Newcastle Falcons Fixtures
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Sunday , November 30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
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Harlequins vs Newcastle15:00
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Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
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Northampton vs Newcastle15:00
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Newcastle vs London Welsh15:00
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Newcastle vs Wasps20:00
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Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
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Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
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Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
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