Planet Rugby

Preview: Newcastle v Northampton

21st February 2014 10:55

Share:

ally hogg newcastle

Ally Hogg: At eight for Falcons

Newcastle boss Dean Richards has made three changes to his side for Sunday's Premiership clash with Northampton at Kingston Park.

Scotland hooker Scott Lawson, who starts tomorrow's Six Nations showdown against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, is replaced by Matt Thompson, while Oliver Tomaszczyk comes in for Kieran Brookes at tighthead.

Ally Hogg returns at number eight as part of a reshuffled back-row which sees Mark Wilson move to blindside flanker and skipper Will Welch to openside. Andy Saull is ruled out through injury.

"It's great to be returning to Kingston Park for Aviva Premiership Rugby again, and I'm looking forward to the challenge that Northampton will bring," said Richards.

"We have a big fortnight ahead of us with back-to-back home matches against Northampton and Leicester Tigers, and it will be a big test for the lads.

"We have acquitted ourselves well in the last couple of weeks at Bath Rugby and Harlequins, and we have been very competitive in both games so we know that we can do it.

"It's just a case of going out there against Northampton and showing what we are capable of."

Meanwhile, Kahn Fotuali'i and Christian Day both return into Saints' starting line-up for this clash.

Scrum-half Fotuali'i comes in for Lee Dickson, who is on England's bench on Saturday, while second row Day has recovered from the leg injury which kept him out of last weekend's win over Worcester.

England U20 centre Tom Stephenson continues his midfield partnership with George Pisi, while Day's return means a move back to number eight for Sam Dickinson.

GJ Van Velze drops to the bench, where he is joined by Junior World Championship winning scrum-half Alex Day, fly-half Glenn Dickson, and full-back Ben Foden, who could see his first Aviva Premiership action since the Round eight clash against the same opponents last November.

Form: Newcastle Falcons have lost their last eight Premiership matches and picked up just two losing bonus point in that sequence. The Falcons have won their two most recent home games in all tournaments, against Bucharest Wolves and Newport Gwent Dragons.Northampton Saints top the table and have not been defeated in the Premiership since their round 3 visit to Gloucester. The Saints have won their last eight away games in all tournaments since tripping up in Castres in the European Cup in October. Northampton have won their last seven encounters with Newcastle since The Falcons trip to Franklin's Gardens in February 2009.

The teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Adam Powell.

Northampton Saints: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom STtephenson, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Phil Dowson (c), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Alex Day, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Ben Foden.

Date: Sunday 23rd February
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 1500 (local and GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small (Eng)
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Ashley Rowden (both Eng)
TMO: Trevor Fisher (Eng)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs Crusaders19:40
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00