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Falcons name team to face Harlequins



Friday 9 September 2022

Josh Barton makes his competitive debut for Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they kick-off the new Gallagher Premiership season at home to Harlequins.

The 24-year-old scrum-half arrived from Coventry in the summer, and forms part of a side which sees a 50th club appearance for centre Ben Stevenson.

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham makes his first Premiership start on the loose-head side, with Newcastle welcoming back Sean Robinson from suspension and handing a start to Sebastian de Chaves as the lock begins his second spell with the club.

On the bench there could be a competitive debut for summer signing Tian Schoeman, the former Bath fly-half who ended an 18-month injury lay-off by appearing as a replacement in last Friday’s 33-29 victory at Doncaster Knights.

Head coach Dave Walder, now in full charge of first-team affairs, said: “Home against Harlequins is a great way to start the season, and we’re all buzzing to get into it.

“I was at the Gallagher Premiership launch last week in London and they put me up on stage for a Q&A with Tabai Matson from Harlequins and Steve Borthwick from Leicester – I think just out of sympathy for the length of journey I’d had! One of the questions was what’s the beauty of the Premiership, and I said it was the contrasting styles.

“For us, we’re facing Harlequins this weekend with their open running game which has won them a Premiership title two years ago and got them to a semi-final last season, and then in round two we travel to Leicester to face a completely different, but just as successful, approach.

“It’s tough, of course, but we’ve spoken a lot about our attitude and showing people what Newcastle Falcons are all about. The players call it their ‘True North’ mind-set, and it’s things like being positive in our decision-making, the way we talk to each other and everything around the place being about looking forward.

“If we get our attitude right on Saturday we can give a good account of ourselves, and then go down to Leicester the week after. So yeah, it’s a tough start, but it’s one we’re really looking forward to.”

Relishing the chance to take the lead role, Walder knows the Falcons have work to do in putting behind them the disappointment of how the previous campaign fizzled out.

“It’s no secret that last season we lost momentum with a few bits and pieces going on, but things became clearer during the off-season and we’ve gone on from there,” said the former England fly-half, who was a European Cup, domestic cup and Premiership title winner during his playing days.

“We got more clarity on exactly what the coaching team was going to be, the coaches and players have worked really well together and now here we are on the eve of the season. It’s exciting, and I can’t wait to get going.

“As much as we can say it’s a new coaching set-up in some ways, when you look at myself, Mark Laycock, Micky Ward, Scott MacLeod and Mark Wilson – we’ve all been around the club for years and know what this place is about.

“We know what’s needed, and the guys have added some new ideas and new energy to what we already had in place. Mark Laycock has been working hard to get our attack firing again, Micky and Scotty will work their magic with the forwards and Mark Wilson and I will lead on the defensive side of things. The proof will be in the pudding once we get into the games, but it’s a really exciting time for us.”

Giving fans a flavour of what he hopes to see as the season develops, Walder said: “We’re going to play a style of rugby which we believe will bring us success, and we’ll challenge sides in different ways.

“I always talk about the fact I was brought up on the ‘Entertainers’ era with Kevin Keegan at Newcastle United, and especially with the financial climate being as it is at the moment for people, we’ve got to be putting something on that they want to come and watch.

“People of course want to watch successful teams, but they also want to watch teams with local lads in, playing a style of rugby which befits the region.

“It’s about balancing all of that, and there will be ups and downs along the way. I don’t think we’ll get there in the first two or three weeks of the season, but I believe we’ll make it clearer for people in showing them where we’re trying to get to. Hopefully our supporters will buy in with us, we’ll improve week on week and ultimately end up in a good place.”

Click here to buy tickets for Saturday’s game, or click here to purchase your PRTV live stream.

Newcastle Falcons team v Harlequins (Saturday, 3pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Josh Barton; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Sean Robinson, 7 Jamie Blamire, 8 Will Welch (captain).

Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 George Merrick, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 George Wacokecoke.

Not available for selection: Adam Brocklebank, Callum Chick, Jeremy Civil, Connor Collett, Luke Coulston, Matthew Dalton, Matt Deehan, Mark Dormer, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Louie Johnson, Freddie Lockwood, Matias Moroni, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Tom Penny, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale, Charlie Smith, Sam Stuart, Philip van der Walt, Michael Young.

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Nick David, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 Lennox Anyanwu, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Lewis Gjaltema; 1 Joe Marler, 2 George Head, 3 Wilco Louw, 4 George Hammond, 5 Irne Herbst, 6 Jack Kenningham, 7 Tom Lawday, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain).

Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 Will Collier, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 Will Evans, 21 Jack Stafford, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Joe Marchant.

Referee: Luke Pearce.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.  

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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