Newcastle Falcons have made three changes for Friday’s Greene King IPA Championship visit of Bedford Blues, with Callum Chick, Ben Stevenson and Will Montgomery coming into the side.
John Hardie, Sinoti Sinoti and Sean Robinson are the three players to make way, having both featured in the Falcons’ 38-3 victory away to Jersey Reds last time out.
Newcastle are currently 13 points clear at the top of the table having won all 21 games this season, line-out coach Scott MacLeod keen for them to build on an impressive showing over on the Channel Islands.
“I thought Jersey away was our best performance of the season,” said the Scottish international.
“We were up against the elements, it’s always a tough place to go and the boys knew they were in for a challenge. They stood up in every aspect, and it was great to see so few errors despite the conditions being incredibly difficult. Everyone was buzzing, the attitude was brilliant and we just want to continue along those lines for the rest of the season.”
The Falcons were made to work for the full 80 minutes when they last faced Bedford in November, grinding out an 11-6 victory in front of the Sky Sports cameras in atrocious weather at Goldington Road.
“It was a tough game down in Bedford and, while I never felt we were going to lose, it was certainly a close score-line,” said MacLeod.
“It wasn’t our best performance by any means – we tried to force things, we made a lot of mistakes and penalties were killing us because we kept on infringing.
“If we can play anywhere near as well as we did against Jersey it’ll be a huge help, because Bedford are a good side and it’ll be a test for us.
“They like to play an expansive brand of rugby so our pitch will suit them, and they’ll have hard runners around nine and ten. It’ll definitely be a decent game and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Hoping for more clement conditions for Friday’s 8pm kick-off, he added: “From a line-out perspective I’m just sick of this wind!
“I feel bad for the hookers having to try and throw in a gale every week, so hopefully we get some better weather and we can move things around a bit more.”
Newcastle Falcons team to face Bedford Blues (Friday, 8pm, Kingston Park Stadium)
15 Tom Arscott
14 Adam Radwan
13 Johnny Williams
12 Toby Flood
11 Ben Stevenson
10 Brett Connon
9 Michael Young (co-captain)
1 Trevor Davison
2 George McGuigan (co-captain)
3 Logovi’i Mulipola
4 Greg Peterson
5 Will Montgomery
6 Callum Chick
7 Will Welch
8 Philip van der Walt
16 Charlie Maddison
17 Adam Brocklebank
18 Mike Daniels
19 Toby Salmon
20 Nemani Nagusa
21 Joel Hodgson
22 Gareth Owen
23 Tim Swiel