Euan Murray retiurn to the Falcons' fold

Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait has rung the changes ahead of Friday’s crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester at Kingston Park (kick-off 8pm).

Seven changes in all have been made to the side that locked horns with Harlequins last week, with Jordi Pasqualin the most notable inclusion against his former club.

In-form Greg Goosen starts at full-back while Corne Uys partners James Fitzpatrick at the heart of the Falcons backline, with Ryan Shortland getting the nod on the wing. Grant Shiells and Euan Murray occupy the front-row while Will Welch comes in at flanker to round off the changes.

Pasqualin, 21, who joined the northeasterners from the Cherry and Whites last summer cannot wait for Friday’s showdown, saying: “It’s a game I have been looking forward to and as a player you always want to put in a good performance if you’re playing against your old club.”

The Falcons will be aiming to make it five games unbeaten in all competitions at home when Gloucester are in town, something that the Sheffield-born half-back is keen to extend.

“Gloucester haven’t won here for three seasons and we will be trying our best to make this the fourth,” said Pasqualin who is bursting at the seams to march out onto Kingston Park tomorrow night. “They are a quality side with great capability but we can give them a good game and make the most of our home advantage,” he added.

With a passionate fan-base set to walk through the turnstiles at Kingston Park Pasqualin believes everyone at the club must remain positive in order to climb the Premiership ladder.

He said: “As players we have to stay focussed and as a club, staff and supporters included we have got to stay positive. I hope everyone who is able to make it to the game on Friday is there.”

The Kingston Park unit will be buoyed by the return of Euan Murray who adds invaluable experience to the pack. Murray, 31, took time out after training to give his thoughts in the build up to the game and admits he is ready to do battle with the West Countryman.

He said: “We have to focus on the job in hand and not think about the overall position that we are in. It is crucial that we concentrate on all of the individual aspects of the game. If you get a scrum you give it 100% and if you get a line-out you give it 100%,” he added.

Approaching his one year anniversary with the North East outfit, Murray is itching to claim victory over Bryan Redpath’s talented side.

“They are strong all over the pitch with internationals throughout the team and it will certainly be a big game,” said Murray. “They play very direct and we have watched a bit of what they can do in moving the ball about. They have good runners in the backs and have a tight defence,” he added.

Starting XV:
15 Greg Goosen
14 Suka Hufanga
13 Corne Uys
12 James Fitzpatrick
11 Ryan Shortland
10 Jimmy Gopperth
9 Jordi Pasqualin
1 Grant Shiells
2 Michael Mayhew
3 Euan Murray
4 James Hudson
5 Andrew Van Der Heijden
6 Taiasina Tuifua
7 Will Welch
8 Ally Hogg

16 Joe Graham
17 Ashley Wells
18 Dan Frazier
19 Adriaan Fondse
20 Mark Wilson
21 Chris Pilgrim
22 Jamie Helleur
23 Tom Catterick