Premiership: Matias Moroni to make Newcastle Falcons debut while Jack Bates returns for Bristol Bears

David Skippers

There is one Premiership fixture scheduled for Friday with early season basement dwellers Newcastle Falcons hosting table-toppers Bristol Bears at Kingston Park.

Newcastle Falcons have named Argentina centres Matias Orlando and Matias Moroni in their starting line-up for Friday’s Premiership clash with Bristol Bears at Kingston Park.

Moroni makes his Falcons debut at outside centre after starting in the Premiership final for champions Leicester Tigers in June, before embarking on a Rugby Championship campaign which saw he and Orlando helping their country defeat New Zealand and Australia.

Tom Penny makes his first Newcastle start of the season at full-back after returning from injury from the bench last weekend at Worcester Warriors, while fit-again Sam Stuart is in at scrum-half.

Falcons captain Will Welch returns on the blindside flank having missed the Worcester trip due to illness, with Sean Robinson moving into the second-row.

On the bench, there is a return for Samoan international prop Logovi’i Mulipola and centre Pete Lucock, with the Falcons out for a repeat of the 13-5 home victory they enjoyed over Bristol on their last visit to the North East.

Jack Bates back for Bristol Bears

Meanwhile, Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam has made some alterations to his run-on side with Jack Bates returning to start at outside centre.

Bates is one of five changes from the side that defeated London Irish in a thrilling Round Three encounter at Ashton Gate, with Rich Lane switching to full-back and Henry Purdy earning a start on the left wing.

Piers O’Conor switches to inside centre to partner Bates while there’s a first start of the season for Andy Uren at scrum-half.

In the pack, Jake Woolmore replaces Ellis Genge at loosehead prop with Yann Thomas returning to the squad amongst the replacements.

Form: Newcastle Falcons have not been victorious in Premiership Rugby since beating Worcester Warriors 45-10 at Sixways on 2 April. The last time that the Falcons avoided defeat at Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby was in a 24-24 draw with Worcester last November. Top of the table Bristol Bears are one of only two teams who have started their Premiership Rugby season with three wins, the other being Exeter. Bears’ most recent defeat in the competition was 19-42 at Sale in Round 26 last season. Bristol won their only other away game this season at Wasps in Round Two and have not won successive matches on the road since May 2021. Bristol’s only defeat in their last six fixtures against Newcastle was 5-13 at Kingston Park last October.

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Connor Collett, 6 Will Welch (c), 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank
16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Jamie Blamire, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Pete Lucock

Bristol: 15 Rich Lane, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Jack Bates, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Jake Heenan (c), 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Will Capon, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Sam Bedlow

Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, John Meredith
TMO: Andrew Jackson

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