Team news: 100 up for Connon on Friday

Team news: 100 up for Connon on Friday

Brett Connon makes his 100th appearance for Newcastle Falcons on Friday when they host Harlequins in Gallagher Premiership action.

The 27-year-old Cumbrian has scored 478 points in his 99 games for the Falcons, coming in as one of five changes for the 7.45pm kick-off at Kingston Park.

Connon forms a half-back partnership with James Elliott while George Wacokecoke starts at outside centre after impressing from the bench in recent weeks, replacing Matias Moroni (knee).

He partners the returning Jordan Holgate in midfield, with the only other change from last weekend’s trip to Saracens seeing Bryan Byrne coming in at hooker after an infection ruled out Jamie Blamire.

Head coach Alex Codling said: “It’s great to see another homegrown player in Brett Connon making his 100th appearance for the club, just a week after Jamie Blamire reached the same milestone.

“Adam Radwan also played his 100th a few weeks ago, and it’s guys like them who embody what this club is all about in terms of coming through our academy and showcasing their ability on the national stage.

“It will be a big day for Brett and his family, and we are all working incredibly hard to achieve a positive result and make it a double celebration.”

Up against a Harlequins side who come into Friday’s game at sixth in the standings, Codling said: “We dominated the first half when we played Harlequins away but we could make it count on the scoreboard, and in many ways that’s been the story of our season.

“Quins play a great brand of rugby with the way they change the point of attack and look to the width, which is the way we are aspiring to go. It should be a good contest on Friday and it’s one we are really looking forward to.

“The balance against a team like Quins is when to play and when not to play, because if you play in the wrong areas they will punish you.

“That’s the challenge we face, but if we can combine the spirit we showed last weekend at Saracens with a bit more discipline and accuracy, we’ll put ourselves right in contention.

“We have to do it for the full game, though.

“We’re starting well but rugby is played over 80 minutes, not 20. When we lose momentum we’re finding it hard to get it back, but we have to manage things better in terms of not giving away penalties and giving cheap opportunities to teams.”

Praising the contribution of the Falcons faithful, the head coach added: “Our supporters have stuck with us, and the manner in which they are getting behind the team is outstanding.

“It’s looking like hopefully being a good crowd on Friday night, possibly our biggest of the season, and we as a playing and coaching group are really thankful for the support we are receiving.”

Newcastle Falcons team v Harlequins (Friday, 7.45pm, Kingston Park)

15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Jordan Holgate, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Brett Connon, 9 James Elliott; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 Bryan Byrne, 3 Eduardo Bello, 4 Sebastian de Chaves, 5 Kiran McDonald, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (captain).

Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Louie Johnson, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo.

Not available for selection: Jamie Blamire, Mateo Carreras, Sam Clark, John Hawkins, Isaac Keller, Matias Moroni, Richard Palframan, Marcus Tiffen.

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Nick David, 13 Oscar Beard, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cameron Anderson, 10 Will Edwards, 9 Will Porter; 1 Fin Baxter, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Will Collier, 4 Irne Herbst, 5 George Hammond, 6 James Chisholm, 7 Will Evans, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain).

Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Max Green, 22 Lennox Anyanwu, 23 Louis Lynagh.

Referee: Matthew Carley.

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