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Team news: Pumas pair back to face Exeter



Thursday 24 November 2022

Argentina internationals Mateo Carreras and Matias Moroni are among the returning stars for Newcastle Falcons on Friday when they host Exeter Chiefs in Gallagher Premiership action.

The Pumas pair are joined by USA lock Greg Peterson in coming back from their international commitments, with the Falcons looking to kick on from the 27-21 away win they achieved on their last league outing at Gloucester.

Brett Connon continues at fly-half after kicking five from five in the Kingsholm clash, Ben Stevenson starting on the right wing. Carl Fearns returns from a knee injury to start at No.8, with scrum-half Michael Young once again captaining the side.

Sean Robinson and Adam Radwan are among the replacements following their midweek release from England’s training squad, with Matias Orlando also on the bench having played a full 80 minutes for Argentina against Scotland last Saturday.

Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs’ last two Gallagher Premiership meetings have been decided by just a single point with one win for each club, and head coach Dave Walder expects a physical evening against the Devon outfit.

“Exeter have big ball-carriers, they’re very physical and they like to play with tempo right from the start,” said the Falcons boss.

“They try to put you under pressure when they’ve got the ball in hand, and their backs try to exploit the wide channels off the back of that. It’s a keep-ball style of game, a bit different to how a lot of other Premiership teams play, but it’s a method which has been very successful for them.

“They’re a different team from when we beat them at their place this time last year, they’ve got a new defence coach whose playing style is more aggressive and confrontational, and they’ve gone back to that line-speed which they’d moved away from over the past year or so. They set up slightly differently, but they’re a formidable team and we’re excited about taking them on.”

Keen to take the positives from their away victory over Gloucester, Walder added: “It was an important win for us, more for the confidence of the group than anything else.

“It gave the boys the belief that the things they’re doing every day are pointing us in the right direction, and the most pleasing thing was the attitude.

“Obviously you never want to see four of your players in the sin bin, but the way we ended up winning the game by digging in with 13 men against arguably the top mauling team in the country was really pleasing. It was a good way to win a game in testing circumstances, and as I say our attitude was the number-one thing.

“We had a big focus during the week with Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod in terms of how we were going to defend Gloucester’s maul, and we spent a lot of time on that.

“After the game people kept saying that was Gloucester’s second-string back line, but in fairness it was pretty much their first-choice pack. We were missing quite a few players of our own in the backs so it’s just one of those things, and it was pleasing to see a few things coming off that we’d worked on during the week.

“Mark Laycock had picked a couple of holes in their defence which we were able to exploit with our attacking strategy, and when we found ourselves under pressure we had the resilience to close out the game. We’re excited now about taking that momentum into the Exeter match on Friday, and they’re another big, heavy pack who take the game to you.

“They’ve got a style of rugby which they’ve been renowned for over the years, albeit they’ve tweaked it a little bit recently. They play a power-based game and look after the ball very well, they’ve got some big ball-carriers in their pack and some quick, powerful backs. They’re a good team overall, and it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

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Newcastle Falcons team v Exeter Chiefs (Friday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park Stadium)

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Stevenson, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Tom Penny, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain); 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Carl Fearns.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Freddie Lockwood, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Adam Radwan, 23 Matias Orlando.

Not available for selection: Phil Brantingham, Sam Clark, Connor Collett, Trevor Davison, Gary Graham, Louie Johnson, Conor Kenny, Pete Lucock, Oliver Spencer, Philip van der Walt, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Dan John, 13 Sean O’Brien, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 3 Harry Williams, 4 Ruben Van Heerden, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 6 Lewis Pearson, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 8 Jacques Vermeulen.

Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Jack Dunne, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Will Becconsall, 23 Solomone Kata.

Referee: Karl Dickson.

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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