Adam Powell returns from a rib injury to start against his former club as Newcastle Falcons host Premiership leaders Saracens tomorrow.
The centre comes in as one of seven changes to a Newcastle side still in relegation trouble, sitting seven points clear of Worcester with just three games left to go.
Powell joins a back line which also sees Alex Tait returning at full-back, a move which sees Noah Cato moving up to the wing and Ryan Shortland dropping out of the match-day squad altogether. As revealed in yesterday’s Journal there are Premiership starting debuts for fly-half Joel Hodgson and hooker George McGuigan as director of rugby Dean Richards puts his faith in those who shone during last weekend’s stabilising second-half performance at London Irish.
Veteran Scot Mike Blair replaces Warren Fury at scrum-half, Dom Barrow making a first start since November in the second-row after overcoming a dislocated ankle.
Richard Mayhew’s ballast is added to the blind-side flank as Will Welch slides round to open-side, former Saracen Andy Saull the man to make way ahead of the 3pm kick-off.
Sarries have changed all but two of the starting XV which beat Northampton last weekend, Chris Wyles and Jackson Wray the only survivors.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: A Tait, N Cato, A Powell, J Helleur, S Sinoti, J Hodgson, M Blair; G Shiells, G McGuigan, O Tomaszczyk, D Barrow, S MacLeod, R Mayhew, W Welch (captain), M Wilson. Replacements: M Thompson, G Strain, S Wilson, I Nagle, C York, W Fury, P Godman, D Barnes.
SARACENS: A Goode, M Tagicakibau, T Streather, C Wyles, J Wilson, C Hodgson, R Wigglesworth; R Barrington, J George, M Stevens, E Sheriff, A Hargreaves, N Fenton-Wells, W Fraser, J Wray. Replacements: S Spurling, R Gill, P du Plessis, H Smith, J Melck, B Spencer, N Mordt, J Ransom.