Blamire to become Falcons centurion in Sarcens fixture

Blamire to become Falcons centurion in Sarcens fixture

Jamie Blamire plays his 100th game for Newcastle Falcons on Saturday when they travel to Gallagher Premiership champions, Saracens.

The hooker, who turned 26 last week, has scored 25 tries in his 99 appearances for the Falcons and made a league-high four turnovers during last week’s home game against Bristol Bears.

The Cumbrian starts in the 3pm kick-off at StoneX Stadium, forming part of a side which sees the return of Argentina centres Matias Orlando and Matias Moroni.

A dead leg sustained in last week’s game against Bristol Bears rules out countryman Mateo Carreras, while fellow Puma and former Saracen Eduardo Bello returns against his old club.

Rory Jennings and Hugh O’Sullivan form a freshened-up half-back pairing, and Scotsman Kiran McDonald, who scored a try as a replacement last time out, replaces the injured John Hawkins in the second row.

Argentina’s Pedro Rubiolo comes in for Sam Cross on the blind-side flank after the Welshman suffered a rib injury against Bristol, with head coach Alex Codling determined to end the year with a positive performance.

A former Saracen in his playing days, Codling said: “It’s always a great challenge going down to Sarries, but firstly I want to congratulate Jamie Blamire on reaching 100 appearances for Newcastle Falcons.

“He embodies what this club is about, he loves the Falcons and he’s playing well at the moment. I know he and his family will be very proud at achieving this milestone so early into his career, and there’s plenty more to come from him.”

On the prospect of tackling the champions in their own back yard, the Falcons boss added: “Whenever you play rugby you want to test yourself against the best, and we know we’ve got that this weekend.

“Sarries are champions for a reason, and even though they’ve perhaps not gone as well as they would have hoped this season I’d still expect them to be right up there come the end of the campaign.

“They don’t have many weaknesses but of course we’ve done our analysis to look for those little areas we can attack. Eduardo Bello will be up against his old club and is someone who has really made a positive contribution since he arrived, and the guys are looking forward to it.

“The scrum and the maul will be a big area, as it always is, we know Sarries will be fired up following their defeat at Sale Sharks a week ago.

“We’ve got plenty of motivation of our own, and as a professional rugby player you should be excited by these kinds of tests.”

Newcastle Falcons team v Saracens (Saturday, 3pm, StoneX Stadium, live on Discovery+)

15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Rory Jennings, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Eduardo Bello, 4 Kiran McDonald, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (captain).

Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ollie Leatherbarrow, 21 James Elliott, 22 Brett Connon, 23 George Wacokecoke.

Not available for selection: Mateo Carreras,Sam Clark,Isaac Keller, Richard Palframan, Mark Tampin, Marcus Tiffen.

Referee: Jack Makepeace.

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