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Team news: Falcons side for Cardiff on Sunday



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)

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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