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Preview: Newcastle v London Irish

08th November 2013 12:21

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Shane Geraghty v Newcastle

Captain: Shane Geraghty

Setaimata Sa will make his first appearance of the season for London Irish this weekend when he takes the field against Newcastle in round one of the LV= Cup.

Sa will be joined in the midfield by Guy Armitage who came on as a replacement in the Premiership fixture two weeks ago. Darren Allinson and Shane Geraghty will partner at half-back. Geraghty will also captain the side. Tom Fowlie, Andrew Fenby and Alex Lewington will make up the back-three.

Matt Parr, Mike Mayhew and Jamie Hagan will start in the front-row with Ben Toolis, who joins on loan from Edinburgh, Kieran Low in the second-row. Declan Danaher, Blair Cowan and Danny Kenny, who joins London Irish on trial, make up the back row.

"The LV= Cup presents us with a chance to mix the squad up a little bit and allow those that have had limited game time an opportunity to show what they can do. The boys have worked hard this week and want to go up there and put in a performance," said director of rugby Brian Smith.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons are buoyed by the return of Richard Mayhew to the starting line-up.

Mayhew gets the nod at blindside flanker, his first start of the season after recovering from a foot injury which has kept him out of action for the first two months of the campaign.

The Kiwi back-row came on as a second-half replacement during last week's Aviva Premiership trip to Saracens, and is one of eleven changes as Dean Richards' men look to get off to a winning start in the cup opener.

Exciting prospect Zach Kibirige is also back to fitness, with the Teeside flyer putting to bed the torment of a hamstring injury sustained during pre-season to start on the wing, while James Fitzpatrick and Rory Clegg are named at centre and fly-half respectively. Clegg partners scrum-half Warren Fury, whose last start was as skipper in the Amlin Challenge Cup clash at Brive. Tom Catterick dons the number 15 jersey, a position he played at against Bucharest last month.

Meanwhile, it is all change in the pack with six new faces stepping up to the mark. Loosehead prop Grant Shiells and hooker George McGuigan partner Kieran Brookes in the front-row, while Fraser McKenzie and Scott MacLeod partner one another in the engine room. Mayhew and Chris York round off the changes in the back-row.

"The LV= Cup provides a lot of our lads with the chance to stake a claim for a regular first team place," said Falcons boss Richards.

"London Irish will bring a lot of physicality and go-forward to proceedings, and it will undoubtedly be a tough test for us.

"But the lads have trained well this week, and are champing at the bit to show what they can do in front of a home crowd.

"I'm really looking forward to the game."

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Chris York, 7 Will Welch (capt), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Grant Shiells.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Glen Young, 20 Harrison Collins, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Tom Penny.

London Irish: 15 Alex Lewington, 14 Tom Fowlie, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Setaimata Sa, 11, Andrew Fenby, 10 Shane Geraghty (capt), 9, Darren Allinson, 8 Blair Cowam, 7 Danny Kenny, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Kieran Low, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Mike Mayhew, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Richard Palframan, 17 Johnny Harris, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Bryn Evans, 20 Ben Lonergan, 21 Fergus Mulchrone, 22 Myles Dorrian, 23 Ed Hoadley.

Date: Sunday, November 10
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: Darren Gamage (England)
Assistant referees: Steve Lee (England), Andy Watson (England)
Timekeeper: David Hudson (England)

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