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Team news: McGuigan captain against Worcester



Friday 23 September 2022

George McGuigan captains Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they make the Gallagher Premiership trip to Worcester Warriors.

The prolific hooker, who has scored three tries in his two games this season, forms part of a side which sees Callum Chick returning from injury.

Will Welch misses out due to illness, while Carl Fearns is absent with the knee injury picked up last weekend at Leicester Tigers. Connor Collett starts at open-side flanker after returning from the bench last time out, with Sean Robinson sliding back to blind-side in a move which sees Sebastian de Chaves recalled at lock.

Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti replaces Josh Barton at scrum-half, with the only other change seeing Mateo Carreras starting on the left wing in place of Nathan Earle – Carreras scoring at Leicester last weekend after a shoulder injury forced Earle’s departure.

On the bench there could a first outing of the season for fit-again prop Adam Brocklebank and full-back Tom Penny, with Newcastle aiming for a repeat of the 45-10 victory they enjoyed on their last visit to Worcester back in April

Head coach Dave Walder insists he and his squad are ignoring all the background noise around Worcester’s off-field situation, saying: “It’s been pretty straightforward from our side in the sense that the game has always been on, and that’s how we’ve approached it.

“The players are only human and will have seen the various bits and pieces floating around the media, but our messaging to them has been really consistent in terms of just preparing for the game as usual.

“There is the possibility as some pundits have mentioned about any points we might get from the game being scrubbed from the record if the situation escalates at Worcester, but as the head coach of Newcastle there’s nothing I can do about that. What will be will be in terms of whether or not the result stands, and of course nobody is taking anything for granted in terms of the outcome on Saturday.

“Worcester will come out fighting and we can’t worry about any of the stuff going on in the background, though of course we sympathise with all the staff down there who are getting put through the mill.

“We know they’ll be fired up for the game given everything that’s gone on, and any team with Steve Diamond in charge is going to be up for the physical challenge. We’ve got to be ready for that, control the things we can and approach it like any other game.”

Determined not to allow the off-field situation to affect matters on the pitch, Walder said: “I’d be lying if I said nobody has been talking about it and thinking about it, but in reality there’s not a lot we can do other than turn up, be professional and give a good account of ourselves.

“What happens after that, it happens, but as head coach of Newcastle I’m not involved in those decisions. If we get injuries we get injuries, but you’re more likely to get injured if you go into a game half-cocked.”

Asked about the wider situation, he added: “I’m not an expert on rugby finance so I can’t comment too much on what goes on at other clubs, but what I can say is we’ve always cut our cloth at Newcastle Falcons.

“Semore Kurdi is a great owner who has supported the club brilliantly, and makes good decisions on that side of things. We have a very strict budget which we stick to, and for the long-term good of the club that’s the way it has to be.

“I’ll admit it can be frustrating sometimes, but we know that that’s our budget and we have to stick to it. I’d love to go out and make a superstar signing, to upgrade certain facilities or what have you, but a lot of the time we can’t and I fully understand that.

“I believe we’ve got a great ethos about doing things the right way, building through our academy and promoting local talent, although yeah, I’ll admit it’s frustrating when you make an offer for a player but you get blown out of the water by clubs who then go on to experience financial difficulty.

“You just have to accept that at times you’re going to miss out on certain players, and when you hear the supposed figures they’ve gone for it can blow your mind.

“We’re lucky with Semore to have a fantastic owner who from day one always talked about the long-term sustainability of the club, and he’s consistently backed that up by his actions. I’ve obviously got a lot of sympathy for the staff and supporters of other clubs who are having tough times at the moment, but without knowing the ins and outs of what’s gone on I can’t really say any more than that.”

Saturday’s game is not on TV but is being streamed on PRTV Live.

Click here to buy your stream for £4.99.

Newcastle Falcons team v Worcester Warriors (Saturday, 3pm, Sixways Stadium)

15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 George Wacokecoke, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 George McGuigan (captain), 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Sean Robinson, 7 Connor Collett, Callum Chick.

Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 George Merrick, 20 Jamie Blamire, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Tom Penny.

Not available for selection: Luke Coulston, Matthew Dalton, Nathan Earle, Carl Fearns, Gary Graham, Ewan Greenlaw, Pete Lucock, Matias Moroni, Logovi’i Mulipola, Chidera Obonna, Matias Orlando, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale, Charlie Smith, Sam Stuart, Josh Thomas, Philip van der Walt, Will Welch, Michael Young.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter (C), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Murray McCallum, 2 Curtis Langdon, 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Joe Batley, 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 7 Cameron Neild, 8 Tom Dodd.

Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Oli Morris, 23 Noah Heward.

Referee: Adam Leal.

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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