Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes for the visit of Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm). Tom Catterick gets the nod at full-back ahead of the injured Jeremy Manning, while there are starts for Gcobani Bobo on the wing and James Fitzpatrick at centre.

Alan Tait’s men will be hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s narrow defeat to Leeds, with victory over a star-studded Saints outfit. A last gasp Adrian Jarvis drop-goal snatched victory for the Yorkshiremen, and one man itching for the Falcons to bounce back is back-rower Ally Hogg.

Speaking to the gathering media at Kingston Park, Hogg insists the Falcons’ premiership status is very much in their hands, saying: “At one point behind and four games to go it is still in our own hands, and we will go out there for every single match determined to fight for the win.

Hogg never had to endure the fret of relegation during his 10 year stint at Edinburgh as the Magners League is a ring-fenced 10-team competition. “If you were in this position in the Magners League then you would start thinking about building for next year, but we don’t have that luxury because we are fighting for our lives until the very end of the season,” he said.

Northampton travel to the north-east hot on the back of an impressive Heineken Cup quarter-final triumph over Ulster. “We have watched the game on the video and the intensity was good. It was a cracking game to sit and enjoy, but from an analytical point of view we can definitely take a lot of pointers from the way Ulster attacked them. They have got pace throughout their team, and we are going to have to match them in terms of physicality.”

“Our line-speed in defence will be vital, because if we sit back and let them run at us then they are going to score tries. They are a quality team, and we will need to shut them down early,” added Hogg.

15 Tom Catterick
14 Alex Tait
13 Tane Tu’ipulotu
12 Jame Fitzpatrick
11 Gcobani Bobo
10 Jimmy Gopperth
9 Micky Young
1 Jonny Golding
2 Matt Thompson
3 Euan Murray
4 Tim Swinson
5 Andrew Van der Heijden
6 Mark Wilson
7 Will Welch
8 Ally Hogg

16 Rob Vickers
17 Grant Shiells
18 Kieran Brookes
19 Filipo Levi
20 Alex Gray
21 Chris Pilgrim
22 Luke Eves
23 Rob Vickerman