Friday 13 January 2023
Newcastle Falcons have named their side for Sunday’s EPCR Challenge Cup trip to Cardiff.
Gary Graham (pictured) captains the team for the 1pm kick-off, which is being televised live on Viaplay.
Tom Marshall joins the back row after coming on from the bench during last weekend’s 45-26 home win over Leicester Tigers, while Spanish international Josh Peters is added to the second row.
Charlie Maddison and Richard Palframan start in the front row after coming on against Leicester, with fly-half Tian Schoeman starting in what is the Falcons’ penultimate pool game.
Pete Lucock returns from injury at inside centre, with Ben Stevenson and Elliott Obatoyinbo brought into the back three as Newcastle attempt to avenge last month’s home defeat to Cardiff.
Hooker Alun Walker could make his Falcons debut from the bench after being brought in on loan from Ealing, while there could also be a first appearance for Argentina international Pedro Rubiolo, who landed in the UK last week.
Head coach Dave Walder said: “We’ve spoken as a group about the fact we want to qualify for the next round of the competition even though we’ve lost our opening two games, and this is therefore a really important match for us.
“The majority of Cardiff’s players will be internationally capped, and it’s a big challenge.
“We were disappointed in the home leg, more so by the manner of the performance rather than the result because we just didn’t fire any bullets.
“It’s important that we go down to Cardiff and challenge them, and if we do that then we’ll see where it takes us.”
Having included Rubiolo in the match-day 23 despite landing in the country less than a fortnight ago, Walder explained: “We’re keen to get Pedro on the pitch as soon as possible, so he’ll be involved on Sunday.
“His English is limited, if we’re being polite, but his confidence with the language and everything else has grown visibly in the ten days or so that he has been here.
“That progression will obviously continue, and our other Argentinean boys are obviously helping his transition, which is great, because it’s a lot for him to take on with learning a whole new system and all the plays in a foreign language.
“He’s an international player and we’re excited by his potential, but it’s about getting that balance right and not expecting too much from him until he understands the nuances of our game.”
Rubiolo joins countrymen Matias Moroni, Mateo Carreas and Matias Orlando in Newcastle, with Walder full of praise for his Argentina internationals.
“It’s always dangerous to generalise, but we’ve certainly found that all our Argentinean boys have been great people and have fitted in really well to the culture we have at the club,” he said.
“Their outlook seems very similar to the lads from North East England in that they’re passionate, and they play the game the right way.
“They have obviously all got their own individual quirks and characteristics, but we’ve just found them to be great people who have really embraced being here and are buying into what our club is about.”
Newcastle Falcons team to face Cardiff (Sunday, 1pm, The Arms Park, live on Viaplay)
15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Sam Stuart; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Gary Graham (captain), 7 Tom Marshall, 8 Carl Fearns.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Michael Young, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Iwan Stephens.
Not available for selection: Sam Clark, Connor Collett, Brett Connon, Matt Deehan, Freddie Lockwood, Matias Moroni, Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, Guy Pepper, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.
Cardiff Rugby: 15 Josh Adams, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Mason Grady, 12 Ben Thomas, 11 Jason Harries, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Lloyd Williams; 1 Corey Domachowski, 2 Kirby Myhill, 3 Kieron Assiratti, 4 Seb Davies, 5 Teddy Williams, 6 Josh Turnbull (captain), 7 Ellis Jenkins, 8 Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: 16 Efan Daniel, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Will Davies-King, 19 James Ratti, 20 James Botham, 21 Ellis Bevan, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Harri Millard.
Referee: Vivien Praderie (France)
Irish name side for west London derby
Declan Kidney has confirmed the squad for Sunday’s derby clash with Harlequins at the Gtech Community Stadium in Round 16 of the Gallagher Premiership (3pm kick-off).
Will Goodrick-Clarke, Agustin Creevy and Oliver Hoskins are in the front row, with Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman in the second row.
Matt Rogerson captains the side from the six jersey and is joined in the back row by Tom Pearson and Chandler Cunningham-South.
Ben White and Paddy Jackson link up to form the halfback duo, and Rory Jennings partners Benhard van Rensburg in the centres.
Michael Dykes, Lucio Cinti and James Stokes complete the line-up as the back three.
“Whenever these two clubs pitch up against one another, it always creates a good game of rugby,” said Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby.
“I know that we are expecting a good crowd at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday, and they will inevitably create a great atmosphere.
“We need to make sure that we put in a full 80-minute performance to give our supporters a reason to show their voice. Harlequins are a well-drilled side, and we know it will be a difficult challenge this weekend, but one we look forward to.”
15 James Stokes, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Michael Dykes, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South.
16 Mike Willemse, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Henry Arundell.
Baxter issues Moon injury update
By Mark Stevens
Rob Baxter says he cannot give a timescale as to when prop Ben Moon will return to the Exeter Chiefs match-day squad.
The 33-year-old forward is currently Exeter’s longest-serving player, having made his debut in 2008 away to Sedgley Park, and is the last remaining member of their 2009-10 promotion squad.
The England international, however, has not featured for the Devon club since coming off the bench against Munster in last April’s Heineken Champions Cup clash at Sandy Park.
Asked by the media this week about Moon, the Chiefs’ Director of Rugby said: “I wouldn’t hold out hope that he’s going to be appearing soon. It’s been a challenge for Ben for a little period of time now, it’s not just been this season.
“He’s had periods in and out with it, it’s something that’s been affecting him for a little while and because of what it is we just have to be very careful with it.”
Moon has featured in all six of Exeter’s Premiership final appearances at Twickenham – and he also played in the 2020 European Champions Cup final win over Racing 92, and Exeter’s first major final when they beat Northampton Saints to win the 2014 LV Cup.
Moon won eight England caps in the 2018-19 season, but did not make the squad for that autumn’s World Cup in Japan.
“He’s still active around the club, he’s still here, he’s in training, he’s continuing very hard with his rehab and getting everything else he can right, but we’ve just got to be really careful around that neck.
“It’s probably one of those things where it’s getting to the stage where there’s not a lot more we can do. I can’t talk for Ben about his future, but you’re not going to see him in the immediate future on the pitch.”
TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby
South African talisman Rob du Preez is set to make his 100th Sharks appearance whilst Alex Groves is in line for his Gallagher Premiership debut as Alex Sanderson names his side to face Bath Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow night. (Kick-off 7:45pm – Live on BT Sport)
Sanderson makes seven changes to the Sale starting line-up as his squad returns to Gallagher Premiership action following defeat at the hands of Ulster in the Champions Cup.
In the forwards, there is a complete change of the Sharks front-row as Simon McIntyre, Tommy Taylor and Nick Schonert all return to face Bath.
Cobus Wiese links back up with Josh Beaumont in the second row following a one-match suspension for a dangerous tackle in the Sharks’ clash with Toulouse two weeks ago.
Jono Ross captains the side in the absence of Ben Curry, whilst Sam Dugdale steps in to replace the flanker after his England call up to Steve Borthwick’s England squad. Jean-Luc du Preez retains the number 8 shirt with twin-brother Dan remaining on the side lines due to an ongoing hand injury.
Gus Warr continues to provide a platform for success at scrum-half and links up with centurion Rob du Preez, who is named at fly-half.
The ever-present Sam James retains the thirteen shirt with Ryan Mills picked at inside centre in the absence of Manu Tuilagi. The former Wasps centre is one of two changes in the Sharks’ back line.
Sanderson’s second change in the backs comes in the form of Tom Roebuck, who replaces Arron Reed on the wing after an impressive cameo in the Champions Cup. Tom O’Flaherty is named on the other wing, with exciting academy graduate Joe Carpenter at full-back.
On the bench, Ewan Ashman, Ross Harrison and Joe Jones are named as front-row replacements, with Alex Groves and Rouban Birch providing further cover for the forwards. Raffi Quirke, Luke James and Arron Reed cover the backs.
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Ryan Mills, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Josh Beaumont, 6. Jono Ross (c), 7. Sam Dugdale, 8. Jean-Luc du Preez
16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Alex Groves, 20. Rouban Birch, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Luke James, 23. Arron Reed
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