Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes for Friday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby match, against league leaders Leicester Tigers, at Kingston Park (6pm kick-off).

Samoan lock-forward Filipo Levi starts ahead of Tim Swinson, while Rob Vickerman is handed the No.13 jersey for this crucial Good Friday clash. Wing ace Luke Fielden returns to the wing following a shoulder injury with Chris Pilgrim retaining the scrum-half berth despite the return of Micky Young.

The northeasterners lock horns with the Tigers on the back of last week’s bonus point loss against a star-studded Northampton Saints outfit. With the score poised at 15-15 and an imminent share of the spoils, England full-back Chris Ashton touched down in the corner to deny Newcastle the draw.

But spirits are high in the Falcons camp, with the club pulling out all the stops to deliver a festival of fun on what has been designated a Family Day. A variety of activities will be on offer for the whole family on the west pitch at Kingston Park, ranging from pony rides to go-karting.

Stand in skipper Jimmy Gopperth is in no mood for niceties, as he looks to continue the impeccable goal-kicking form that helped his side to a precious premiership point last Friday.

“It doesn’t get any easier, but it’s all exciting when you get the real top sides coming up to you home ground,” said Gopperth who nailed five pressure kicks against the Saints.

“It is a good challenge for us, and one that we have been looking forward to. That was the case last week against Northampton and, like that game, we will give it a good crack.

“The bonus point was not unexpected, within the group anyway, and we knew that if we got in their faces we could put a lot of pressure on them.

“We needed to show what we were about after the disappointment of the Leeds game a week earlier, and we were unlucky not to get two points if we are totally honest,” he added.


15 Tom Catterick

14 Alex Tait

13 Rob Vickerman

12 Tane Tu’ipulotu

11 Luke Fielden

10 Jimmy Gopperth (captain)

9 Chris Pilgrim

1 Jonny Golding

2 Matt Thompson

3 Euan Murray

4 Filipo Levi

5 Andrew van der Heijden

6 Mark Wilson

7 Will Welch

8 Ally Hogg


16 Rob Vickers

17 Grant Shiells

18 Kieran Brookes

19 Tim Swinson

20 Alex Gray

21 Micky Young

22 Luke Eves

23 Gcobani Bobo