Falcons vs Edinburgh team news
Newcastle Falcons have named their squad ahead of Friday’s pre-season showdown with Edinburgh at Kingston Park (kick-off 8pm).
Goal-kicking machine Jimmy Gopperth starts at full-back with summer signing Waisea Luveniyali handed the fly-half berth. Tane Tu’ipulotu and Alex Crockett form the centre partnership, while Luke Fielden and Ryan Shortland occupy both wings.
In the pack summer recruits Oliver Tomaszczyk, Scott MacLeod and Carlo del Fava all have a chance to impress the new-look coaching set-up.
Head coach Peter Russell and forwards coach John Wells will take charge of affairs this weekend as incoming director of rugby Dean Richards serves the last few days of his ban.
“It will be a huge step up for us on Friday,” said Wells, who worked with Richards during a successful stint with Leicester Tigers.
Wells added: “I have just been looking at the Edinburgh team now, and whilst they have still got one or two of their more prominent Scottish internationals unavailable, there are still a good sizeable chunk of guys who played in last season’s Heineken Cup semi-final – on their day they probably should have and could have beaten Ulster.
“They play a very exciting brand of rugby and on one day they can score 40-odd points, and on another day they can let in 40 points so we know that we are going to have our hands full.
“Last week we were challenged in different ways to what we are going to be this week, and it will be up to us to front up.”
The Scots travel to Tyneside with a whole host of debutants on show including All Black centre Ben Atiga, fleet-footed winger Mike Penn, England and Lions hooker Andy Titerrell and Georgian back-row Dimitri Basilaia.
Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley told the Murrayfield outfit’s website: “Tomorrow’s match against the Falcons represents the first real opportunity for all of our players, not just the new arrivals, to champion their place in our match-day squad.
“Every time a player turns out for this club they will need to perform at their absolute best to retain their place as there is a player, or players, waiting to step straight in and make it their own.”
Tickets are still available for the game by calling the Falcons Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 Carlo del Fava, 6 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Reps: Matt Thompson, Grant Shiells, James Hall, James Hudson, Mark Wilson, Chris York, Rory Lawson, Suka Hufanga, James Fitzpatrick, Tom Catterick, Joel Hodgson
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 John Houston, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Mike Penn, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Chris Leck, 1 Allan Jacobsen, 2 Andy Titerrell, Geoff Cross, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 5 Sean Cox (c), 6 Dimitri Basilaia, 7 Roddy Grant, 8 Stuart McInally
Reps: Robin Hislop, Willem Nel, Steven Turnbull, Netani Talei, Richie Rees, Gregor Hunter, Sep Visser, George Turner, Alex Allan, Robert McAlpine, Perry Parker, Hamish Watson, Alex Black, Jamie Farndale, Alun Walker