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Team news: Four debutants for Wasps trip

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Josh Thomas starts at fly-half


Tuesday 20 September 2022

Newcastle Falcons give competitive debuts to four players tonight when they open their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign away to Wasps, with Josh Thomas, Josh Peters, Elliott Obatoyinbo and Nathan Greenwood all making their first appearances in the 7.45pm kick-off at Coventry Building Society Arena.

Fly-half Thomas and lock-forward Peters joined the Falcons in the summer from Ospreys and Doncaster respectively, with former Saracens full-back Obatoyinbo arriving last week on a two-month deal.

Winger Greenwood, 18, made his England 7s debut over the summer, with the former Whitley Bay Rockliff flyer coming through the Falcons’ ACE programme at Gosforth Academy.

Hooker Charlie Maddison captains a Newcastle team showing the full 15 changes from Saturday’s league trip to Leicester Tigers, with England Under-20s international Louie Johnson starting at inside centre.

Iwan Stephens starts on the wing after a pre-season campaign which saw him scoring a try and making another away to Leicester Tigers, with scrum-half James Blackett part of a starting XV containing nine current or former Falcons academy players.

Centre Jeremy Civil is another debutant in waiting, with the Falcons’ ACE graduate having played his junior rugby with Wensleydale RFC and Cumbria.

The Falcons have drafted in a trio of local student players to complete their match-day squad, with Northumbria University lock Will Hopes being joined among the replacements by Newcastle University pair Rory Ward and George Bennett-Teare, the latter of whom made a similar guest appearance away to Northampton Saints during last season’s competition.

Tonight’s trip to Wasps is the first of four Premiership Rugby Cup games for the Falcons, who host Sale Sharks on Tuesday September 27 before travelling to Leicester Tigers on Wednesday October 19, completing their pool campaign at home to Northampton Saints on Saturday November 19.

The three pool winners and one best runner-up will progress through to the semi-finals on February 24/25/26, with the final to be held on May 2/3.

Fitting the cup games into a packed league programme has proved a challenge for head coach Dave Walder, who said: “A Saturday to Tuesday turnaround is unusual for us and feels like a bit of a football fixture list.

“We’ve got three away games in the space of eight days, which would stretch any squad, and when you chuck in the number of injuries we’ve had then it’s just one of those things.

“We’ve got a good group of lads who are desperate to play rugby, though, and for a lot of those guys this will be a great opportunity.”

A former Wasp in his own playing days, the former England fly-half said: “It’s important for us to go down to Wasps and get our first win of the season, but the fact we’ve got those three away games inside the same week just dictates our decision-making in terms of the squad we will travel down with.

“It’s great for us to get a proper look at some of our lads in that match scenario, although the timing probably isn’t ideal with the way the fixtures have fallen.

“It is what it is, though, it’s a great opportunity for the lads and we’ll go down there looking forward to giving it a good go.”

Tonight’s game is not on TV and is not being live-streamed, but there will be live radio coverage from the BBC Newcastle team on their DAB frequency as well as the BBC Rugby website, BBC Sport app and Freeview channel 719.

Newcastle Falcons team v Wasps (Tuesday, 7.45pm, Coventry Building Society Arena)

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Nathan Greenwood, 13 Zach Kerr, 12 Louie Johnson, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Josh Thomas, 9 James Blackett; 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Charlie Maddison (captain), 3 Conor Kenny, 4 George Merrick, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Matt Deehan, 7 Marcus Tiffen, 8 Tom Marshall.

Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Mark Dormer, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Will Hopes (Northumbria University), 20 George Bennett-Teare (Newcastle University), 21 Rory Ward (Newcastle University), 22 Ben Douglas, 23 Jeremy Civil.

Not available for selection: Adam Brocklebank, Callum Chick, Luke Coulston, Matthew Dalton, Nathan Earle, Gary Graham, Pete Lucock, Matias Moroni, Logovi’i Mulipola, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Tom Penny, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale, Charlie Smith, Sam Stuart, Philip van der Walt, Michael Young.

Guest player bios:

George Bennett-Teare: Back row, Newcastle University, 01/02/2002, 193cm, 110kg.

Will Hopes: Lock, Northumbria University, 20/7/2001, 194cm, 105kg.

Rory Ward: Lock, Newcastle University, 01/03/2003, 196cm, 108kg.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


Premiership

Match Report: Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps

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Match summary – Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps

Bath Rugby took away a try-bonus point from a game which saw them make a much improved effort in the second half, but Wasps held on to victory at the death. 

In a game of two halves, the visitors raced into 25-0 lead before Matt Gallagher’s converted try on his home debut just before half-time. 

Jacob Umaga added two penalties late in the first half but it was Bath who rallied and showed a lot of fight to score a further three tries through Tom Dunn (2) and Jonathan Joseph.  

Piers Francis’ penalty made it five-point game late on as Bath pushed to win the game but a last-gasp kick from Umaga meant they had to settle for just one point.


TEAM NEWS

Johann van Graan made eight changes to his starting XV with a new half-back pairing in the form of Louis Schreuder and Orlando Bailey both getting their first starts of the season. 

Also getting their first run out of 2022/23 at were Miles Reid, Max Ojomoh and Quinn Roux – the latter making his Blue, Black and White debut.

Wasps put both Willis brothers – Jack and Tom – in their back row, while England international Joe Launchbury continued as captain.

Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Tom Dunn ©, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Josh McNally, 6 Miles Reid, 7 Chris Cloete, 8 Richard de Carpentier

Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Aranos Coetzee, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Max Green, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Josh Bayliss

Wasps: 15 Jacob Umaga, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Will Porter; 1 Tom West, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Biyi Alo, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 5 Kiran McDonald, 6 Nizaam Carr, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Tom Willis

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 John Ryan, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Zach Kibirige


FIRST HALF

Bath started the game brightly and were the better side in the first 10 minutes and brought physicality in both attack and defence – captain Dunn and Miles Reid leading from the front. 

But it was Umaga who grabbed the game’s opening points with two penalties in as many minutes and three tries in quick succession earned Wasps a solid scoreline advantage. 

Josh Bassett collected his own kick to dot down in the corner before Jack Willis’ close range burrow was confirmed by the TMO. Scrum-half Will Porter finished off a smart handling move to make it 25-0 on the half-hour mark. 

Just shy of the halfway mark, Bath did manage to string an impressive phase together to cross the whitewash. Orlando Bailey spotted a gap and sent a rampaging Will Muir on his way and the wing fed Gallagher in for his first try in Bath colours.

Umaga further added to his tally with two penalties as the first-half clocked ticked down.

SECOND HALF

Schreuder was unfortunate to be sin binned early in the second half and Wasps made the most of their man advantage with Bassett crossing for his second.

However, the Blue, Black and White were cheered on by The Rec in full voice and captain Dunn soon came through the back of a well-driven maul to score Bath’s second.  

Bailey converted with aplomb to close the gap and having found some momentum, and with the impact players putting their stamp on the game, Joseph soon came crashing over the line with a bit of neat footwork to score next to the posts.

Holding off Wasps with hard hits and strong carries, Dunn scored once again from the back of a maul, earning Bath a try bonus point, and hope of a comeback was well and truly in the air.

Francis put Bath in with a chance of securing victory with a penalty, making it 36-31 with moments to play, but with the clock ticking down, Umaga snatched away a second Bath point with a penalty to end the game at 39-31 to the away side.

An encouraging show of fight in the second 40 and something to build for Bath as they head to London Irish in Round 4.


Pol Roger performance of the match


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NEXT UP…

Gloucester, Wed 28 Sep, 19:45 (Premiership Rugby Cup)

SEE YOU BACK AT THE REC

 

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Premiership

Press Conference Notes 23.09.22

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Director of Rugby Steve Diamond spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at Sixways (3pm).

Here’s what Steve had to say:

Is the club in administration?

  • I can’t confirm that, no. I have heard the same rumours.
  • Whether it’s convenience or good timing or poor timing, the public liability insurances for the club are up on Monday so we are in limbo from then anyhow.
  • If there’s no public liability insurance we won’t be able to train at the stadium. We will have to train off-site.
  • Something will have to happen either the said investor who is negotiating or administration.

What did you make of Robin Walker MP’s speech?

  • I thought it was an excellent debate – it’s the first time my name has been mentioned in Parliament by the way.
  • He was very passionate and it was what people want to see and hear, some facts and some honesty.
  • We have been in this period of near-purgatory for some time now and it seems to be coming to a head with us potentially being suspended on Monday.

Have you heard from the owners?

  • I had a text on Sunday but that has been it.
  • Because I have not had any dialogue with them I can’t speak for them. But it would be bizarre to let a business go into real uncharted waters by having a team suspended because they can’t pay the insurance cover in case people slip in the stands. It would also be unprofessional.
  • I don’t know how we have got this position. It’s sad and it’s diabolical that it’s been allowed to walk itself to the graveyard virtually. I never thought it would get to this position, but it has.
  • The rugby for the players and the staff – most of them are volunteering now – is a welcome relief.
  • The result is unimportant to me. Just getting 23 lads out to give it their best shot is all I’m interested in.
  • If people had the same mindset behind the scenes that I have then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

Have you ever though it’s not worth it?

  • No, not even today. If the right people come in with the right vision then it will be a success.
  • It’s been run poorly, incredibly badly, and it needs re-booting. At least I have had six months to work out how badly it has been run.
  • With a fair wind behind us and some serious finance in reserve – not to use on celebrity names in the playing staff – just to reboot the club from Academy to the top. You wouldn’t need to be Warren Buffet to do that.
  • We need to build relationships with the rugby club across the road where there is no relationship – which I find ridiculous.
  • The local community have shown what they are about in bucketloads. I’ve had personal messages from sponsors, potential sponsors and potential investors. Everyone wants it to work and that’s where I get my enthusiasm from.

What are your over-riding emotions?

  • I don’t feel let-down. I have had the foresight to see that, for whatever reason, there has been no financial control and no real graft in the business.
  • Every rugby club had to take emergency steps through the Covid period with DCMS and HMRC allowing payment windows.
  • But you have to stay on-side with these people. Generally that comes from being a good communicator and as we have seen over the past month that has been very poor.
  • If it’s very poor with people who give blood for them on a Saturday afternoon then you can only imagine it being a lot worse to people at the end of a phone.

How are the players mentally?

  • They are remarkably good. We had a good chat again this morning and the over-riding mentality is that we want to play the game.
  • For the right reasons. We are in the political window but I don’t want the team to be in that position. I can handle that position.
  • It does put pressure on by us playing because the staff are working for nothing, the volunteers have been fantastic and we get so much goodwill that if we don’t play the attention will come onto the team and that’s not what we are about.
  • But if the deadline is not met by the powers-that-be on Monday then we will be suspended.

How long might you be suspended for?

  • There are some assurances that it wouldn’t be fatal. But you can’t have a team not playing for five or six weeks and then put them back in again.
  • I am assuming if we are suspended and we do go into administration then it will be a two or three week process. We could be playing after the break when we have a bye week in two weeks’ time.
  • The disappointing thing is how this has kept going and meandered. I asked the RPA this morning whether they had jumped in now because the insurance is up on Monday.
  • We are playing with a lot of livelihoods and 70 per cent of those livelihoods haven’t been fully paid.

Injuries

  • Ted Hill is nearly there with his hamstring but we don’t want to risk him.
  • Renato Giammarioli is waiting on his visa.

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Ludlam, Lawes, Biggar and Freeman make Saints return for 250th Derby

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Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made seven changes to his Northampton Saints side to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday, with four internationals in Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Tommy Freeman all returning to the starting line-up.The men in Black, Green and Gold take on their local rivals in the first East Midlands Derby of the 2022/23 season – and the 250th ever played in a milestone clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.Saints lost all three meetings between the sides last term, including an evenly-contested Gallagher Premiership semi-final, but will be hoping to replicate the sort of form which has seen Northampton win their last five league matches on home soil (the Club’s longest winning run at the Gardens since 2015).Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns for the first time this season for Saints in the back row and is joined by England captain Courtney Lawes, with the pair having completed their rest period following the summer’s international tour to Australia.No.8 Juarno Augustus – who has driven through more metres in contact than any other Premiership player in the league’s opening two rounds – completes the back row, while Alex Coles moves up into the engine room to partner Australian lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.There are changes to Northampton’s front row too; Sam Matavesi continues at hooker but props Emmanuel Iyogun and Alfie Petch both earn their first starts of the season to pack down either side of the Fiji international.Wales skipper Biggar (who was due to return in last weekend’s victory over London Irish before illness ruled him out of the clash) pulls on the No.10 jersey for the hosts, with the Premiership’s player-of-the-round Alex Mitchell continuing at scrum-half.Fraser Dingwall returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, prompting a reshuffle in Saints’ backline as Matt Proctor moves to the wing and Rory Hutchinson continues at inside centre.England internationals George Furbank and Tommy Freeman round off the back three for Northampton for the crucial clash, with the likes of Tom James, Paul Hill, Angus Scott-Young and Tom Collins all primed to make an impact off the bench.A small number of tickets remain for the East Midlands Derby, with prices starting from £42 adult / £12 child*. Please CLICK HERE to purchase now.NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERSGallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3Saturday 24 September 2022cinch Stadium at Franklin’s GardensKick-off: 3pm15 George Furbank14 Tommy Freeman13 Fraser Dingwall12 Rory Hutchinson11 Matt Proctor10 Dan Biggar9 Alex Mitchell1 Emmanuel Iyogun2 Sam Matavesi3 Alfie Petch4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto5 Alex Coles6 Courtney Lawes7 Lewis Ludlam (c)8 Juarno AugustusReplacements:16 Mike Haywood17 Ethan Waller18 Paul Hill19 Alex Moon20 Angus Scott-Young21 Tom James22 James Grayson23 Tom CollinsNot considered for selection:Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Alex Waller and Karl Wilkins.Referee: Karl DicksonAssistant referees: Dan Jones and Jamie LeahyNo.4: Dean RichardsTMO: Stuart Terheege* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Please note, ticket prices rise by £3 per ticket if purchased on matchday.

Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made seven changes to his Northampton Saints side to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday, with four internationals in Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Tommy Freeman all returning to the starting line-up.

The men in Black, Green and Gold take on their local rivals in the first East Midlands Derby of the 2022/23 season – and the 250th ever played in a milestone clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints lost all three meetings between the sides last term, including an evenly-contested Gallagher Premiership semi-final, but will be hoping to replicate the sort of form which has seen Northampton win their last five league matches on home soil (the Club’s longest winning run at the Gardens since 2015).

Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns for the first time this season for Saints in the back row and is joined by England captain Courtney Lawes, with the pair having completed their rest period following the summer’s international tour to Australia.

No.8 Juarno Augustus – who has driven through more metres in contact than any other Premiership player in the league’s opening two rounds – completes the back row, while Alex Coles moves up into the engine room to partner Australian lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

There are changes to Northampton’s front row too; Sam Matavesi continues at hooker but props Emmanuel Iyogun and Alfie Petch both earn their first starts of the season to pack down either side of the Fiji international.

Wales skipper Biggar (who was due to return in last weekend’s victory over London Irish before illness ruled him out of the clash) pulls on the No.10 jersey for the hosts, with the Premiership’s player-of-the-round Alex Mitchell continuing at scrum-half.

Fraser Dingwall returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, prompting a reshuffle in Saints’ backline as Matt Proctor moves to the wing and Rory Hutchinson continues at inside centre.

England internationals George Furbank and Tommy Freeman round off the back three for Northampton for the crucial clash, with the likes of Tom James, Paul Hill, Angus Scott-Young and Tom Collins all primed to make an impact off the bench.

A small number of tickets remain for the East Midlands Derby, with prices starting from £42 adult / £12 child*. Please CLICK HERE to purchase now.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3
Saturday 24 September 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Matt Proctor
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Alfie Petch
4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5 Alex Coles
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Ethan Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Alex Moon
20 Angus Scott-Young
21 Tom James
22 James Grayson
23 Tom Collins

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Alex Waller and Karl Wilkins.

Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Dan Jones and Jamie Leahy
No.4: Dean Richards
TMO: Stuart Terheege

* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Please note, ticket prices rise by £3 per ticket if purchased on matchday.

Content & Images from – Northampton Saints Rugby


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