North East Connected

Newcastle Falcons team to face Gloucester Rugby

Scott Lawson will make his 100th competitive appearance for Newcastle Falcons on Friday when they host Gloucester Rugby in Aviva Premiership action (kick-off 7.45pm).

The 36-year-old is in his fifth season with the Kingston Park Club, the 46-times-capped Scotland hooker forming part of a side showing five changes from the one which started last weekend’s match at Wasps.

Three of those come in the back-line, where an all-Argentinean centre pairing of Juan Pablo Socino and Belisario Agulla will be fed by fly-half Joel Hodgson. Up front Will Witty joins the second row alongside Sean Robinson, who is making his 50th Falcons appearance, while Nili Latu bolsters a reshuffled back row which sees captain Will Welch sliding across to the open-side flank.

Speaking ahead of his 100th competitive game in Newcastle colours, Lawson said: “With coming so late in my career it’s something I probably didn’t think would happen when I joined the club four and a half years ago.

“It’s such an attritional game these days which means it can be tough to post big numbers on the appearance board. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to play a lot of games, and I’m honestly delighted to be within touching distance of the hundred.”

Director of rugby Dean Richards hailed his evergreen hooker, saying: “Scotty is a great professional who looks after the detail of his game and delivers a consistent level of performance each time he takes the field. It’s great for him to reach the hundred and I know he’ll be fired up to mark the occasion against one of his former clubs.”

Newcastle did the double over the Cherry and Whites last season but are looking to bounce back from defeat at Wasps last weekend, Richards saying: “It wasn’t anywhere near our best performance but we have moved on quickly from that, taking on board the lessons and showing a huge focus in training this week.

“Gloucester play a very wide game and also have threats around the ruck at times with their scrum-half, so we’ve really got to be on our mettle from a defensive point of view. We’ve got our own thoughts on how we can attack and exploit their defence, and we’re just looking forward to going out there and trying to win the game.”

Tickets for Friday’s game are available by calling 0871 226 6060.

Newcastle Falcons team to face Gloucester Rugby (Friday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park Stadium, live on BT Sport)

15 Simon Hammersley

14 Alex Tait

13 Belisario Agulla

12 Juan Pablo Socino

11 Sinoti Sinoti

10 Joel Hodgson

9 Sam Stuart

1 Rob Vickers

2 Scott Lawson

3 Jon Welsh

4 Will Witty

5 Sean Robinson

6 Mark Wilson

7 Will Welch (captain)

8 Nili Latu


16 Kyle Cooper

17 Sami Mavinga

18 Scott Wilson

19 Calum Green

20 Gary Graham

21 Ruaridh Dawson

22 Toby Flood

23 Chris Harris

Referee: JP Doyle

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