Team News: Newcastle Falcons name team to face Bath

Toby Flood returns to Newcastle Falcons’ team in one of six changes as they prepare for Friday night’s Aviva Premiership visit of Bath Rugby to Kingston Park Stadium.

The fly-half missed last week’s game at Saracens with a head knock but is fit to resume his place in the side as the Falcons go for a sixth successive home victory in all competitions.



Aiming to do a league double over Bath following the 33-32 victory they enjoyed at The Rec back in September, Newcastle welcome back the Scotland pair of Chris Harris and Jon Welsh to their starting XV following a fortnight on Six Nations duty.

Canadian international Evan Olmstead assumes a place on the blind-side flank in the only other change to the pack, fit-again centre Josh Matavesi and full-back Alex Tait the other two additions to the line-up as the Falcons aim to bounce back from their first league defeat in five games.

Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “When you look at Bath’s side on paper they’ve got a fantastic bunch of players, even with guys away through Six Nations duty.

“They’re a star-studded outfit, it will be a hard game but it holds no fear for us. We’ve shown we can beat them this season, we understand what’s needed and we just need to execute it to the Nth degree. If Bath turn up they’re a very difficult side to beat, but so are we.


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“We played them a few weeks ago in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and in the first half had opportunity after opportunity, but we just didn’t put them away. Had we done so it would have been a different outcome, and they will be worried by the amount of chances we created. Should we start converting those into points it will be a very hard game for them, but they’re a good side and they will have done their homework on us.

“Overall we’re starting to deliver what we set out to do, we’re becoming more consistent but it has taken a bit of time. The game has evolved since we came back up, there has been some big spending going on around the league and in that respect we’ve been chasing our tails a little. But we’re getting there, we have a stability and quality in the side and a growing maturity in the group. Guys who were 21 during our Championship season are now in their prime with a bank of experience behind them, and we’re getting the rewards from that.”

Newcastle Falcons team to face Bath Rugby (Friday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Alex Tait
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Chris Harris
12 Josh Matavesi
11 Sinoti Sinoti
10 Toby Flood
9 Michael Young (captain)

1 Rob Vickers
2 Kyle Cooper
3 Jon Welsh
4 Calum Green
5 Will Witty
6 Evan Olmstead
7 Nili Latu
8 Ally Hogg

Replacements

16 Scott Lawson
17 Sam Lockwood
18 Trevor Davison
19 Ryan Burrows
20 Callum Chick
21 Sonatane Takulua
22 Joel Hodgson
23 Maxime Mermoz

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