Newcastle v Harlequins preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
The Falcons are looking to achieve back-to-back wins over Quins for the first time since 2000, after beating them last May
Quins make seven changes to the side beaten in Montpellier last week
Falcons have won their last three home matches in all competitions
Quins have suffered just one defeat in their last seven Premiership Games
Newcastle Falcons will welcome Harlequins to Kingston park on Sunday, with both sides hoping for a change in fortunes.
Quins got torn apart by Montpellier last weekend, losing 42-9, while Newcastle have only won one game in the Premiership all season.
The Falcons have made two changes to the side who beat Brive 27-23 last weekend with Italy international Giovanbattista Venditti and Tonga prop Taione Vea coming into the starting XV.
Meanwhile, Harlequins have made seven changes to the starting XV who were humiliated by Montpellier last weekend. George Lowe will start at centre, while Nick Evans and Tito Tebaldi have been brought in to form a new half-back partnership. Rob Buchanan returns at prop and James Horwill, Dave Ward and Mat Luamanu all come into the pack.
Harlequins currently sit third in the Aviva Premiership table, and are currently enjoying their best unbeaten run of the season. The Falcons sit rock bottom of the table, with just one win to their name all season. A win for the visitors could lift them up to second, whilst a bonus point victory for the Falcons could see them rise as high as tenth.
Previous meetings have seen Quins come out on top, with three victories to Falcons’ one since the home sides return to the Aviva Premiership.
Falcons have only won one league game this term but it was against last year’s beaten finalists Bath Rugby in Round 8
Harlequins’ impressive seven-match unbeaten run ended in Montpellier on Friday evening
Quins sit third in the table but Falcons were 37-21 victors last time Quins came to Kingston Park
Newcastle are gunning for back-to-back Aviva Premiership Rugby victories over the Londoners for the first time since 2000
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Newcastle Falcons: Simon Hammersley
The full-back could be key in Newcastle’s match against Quins. As the last line of defence against what is a free scoring Harlequins, Hammersley will have to ensure he is on top form if The Falcons are to take anything from this match. He’ll need to contribute to Newcastle’s attacking play as well, and a repeat of his two tries against Brive could go a long way to earning The Falcons only their second win of the season.
Harlequins: Nick Evans
Harlequins’ Nick Evans is a fly-half who excels on the front foot and is currently regarded as one of the best playmakers in the game. The former New Zealand international has been ever present for the Quins this season, and his consistency with both the ball in hand and with his kicking has earnt him the recognition he deserves. If Harlequins are going to catch Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens, they’ll owe a lot to their number 10.