Newcastle Falcons team to face London Irish
The Gallagher Premiership’s top try-scorer, Mateo Carreras, returns for Newcastle Falcons on Sunday when they host London Irish.
The 3pm kick-off at Kingston Park Stadium sees the return of the Tucuman try machine, who has averaged a touchdown every game in his 11 league appearances this season.
Carreras is joined by countryman Pedro Rubiolo as the 20-year-old Puma makes his Premiership debut on the blind-side flank – Newcastle looking for a repeat of their last home game in the league when they recorded a bonus-point victory over champions Leicester Tigers.
Philip van der Walt and Gary Graham are both absent due to injury in the back row having helped the Falcons take a losing bonus point away to Premiership leaders Saracens last weekend, while Matthew Dalton makes his third league start of the season in place of suspended USA international Greg Peterson.
Adam Brocklebank returns at loose-head prop – Brett Connon continuing in the fly-half berth after kicking five from five last time out.
Falcons head coach Dave Walder said: “We need to start better than we did last weekend at Saracens, although I was immensely proud of the character shown by the boys in coming back to get a bonus point despite playing a man down for more than an hour at the league leaders.
“We have to look at why we put ourselves in that position in the first place and make sure we’re on it from the very start, which is incredibly important against a quality side like London Irish.
“We can’t wait until we’re backed into a corner to come out fighting - we need to be on the front foot and there will be a huge focus on that.”
Hopeful of playing in front of their biggest crowd of the season, Walder said: “That’s massively important because our supporters give us such a lift.
“We saw in our last Premiership home game against Leicester Tigers what we can do when we start big and the crowd get into it, and it will be great on Sunday to have so many junior players here for our community festival.
“My son is here playing as part of that so I know how much excitement it brings, and having the involvement of so many local rugby clubs is crucial for the Falcons moving forward.
“We want to play in a manner which makes those guys proud, that they enjoy watching and crucially which gives us the win. It’s built around predominantly local players with a bit of stardust sprinkled from outside, and if we can get that right then I think we’re in a good place.”
Newcastle Falcons team v London Irish (Sunday, 3pm, Kingston Park)
15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Callum Chick, 8 Carl Fearns.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Tom Marshall, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Pete Lucock.
Not available for selection: Phil Brantingham, Sam Clark, Connor Collett, Gary Graham, Ewan Greenlaw, Nathan Greenwood, Zach Kerr, Charlie Maddison, Tom Penny, Guy Pepper, Josh Peters, Greg Peterson, Vereimi Qorowale, Sean Robinson, Oliver Spencer, Philip van der Walt, George Wacokecoke, Will Welch.