Team news: Falcons side for Perpignan trip

Team news: Falcons side for Perpignan trip

Newcastle Falcons have named their side for Sunday’s EPCR Challenge Cup trip to French club, Perpignan.

England Under-20s back Ben Redshaw comes in for the 1pm UK-time kick-off at Stade Aime Giral, starting on the wing just over a week after his 19th birthday.

Newcastle make eight changes to the side which started last week against Benetton, with Matias Moroni and Ben Stevenson added to the back line.

Louie Johnson starts at fly-half in a game which is being shown live in the UK on Viaplay, with Bryan Byrne captaining the team. Murray McCallum starts at tight-head having scored as a replacement last time out, with Sam Cross and Freddie Lockwood added to the back row.

Defence coach Scott Baldwin insisted Sunday’s trip to the south of France will still be useful for his squad, despite qualification for the knock-out stages already being out of reach.

The former Welsh international said: “I know some people will say it’s a dead rubber in terms of the fact that we can’t go through in the Challenge Cup, but I see this game as hugely important in the context of getting that win and giving us the confidence to kick on for the remainder of the season.

“We’ve tried to focus more on ourselves this week, because I think a lot of the time it’s our own errors that are costing us games rather than what the opposition are doing. Obviously we’ve still looked at Perpignan so we have an idea of what to expect, but it’s more about controlling our own game rather than focusing too much on them.

“One thing I will say, Perpignan were in a position not too dissimilar to our own in the Top 14, but they eventually got that win and they’ve really kicked on by quickly taking a couple more. There’s still a really good buzz about our own group in terms of the energy and togetherness, but there’s no denying a win would massively help things.”

Reflecting on last weekend’s home loss and how the squad are now looking to move forward, the former Wales hooker said: “Benetton were very clinical and played in the right areas. That middle third of the field between the two 22s is where, if you get it wrong, you concede points, and we took a few wrong options there.

“We’ve looked at a lot of our off-the-ball stuff in the review this week and the players have been really honest. When we’re in control we look okay, but when we get one thing wrong we’ve got a tendency to drop off a cliff. We need to pull that back because for the most part we’re starting games well, and we just need to be better at managing that momentum battle and how we play in the middle third.

“We need a harder nose around the training ground, although in fairness I’ve noticed a difference this week in terms of how the lads are holdin

Asked what kind of challenge awaits his side in the south of France, Baldwin said: “Perpignan have got a big forward pack and they’ll be very direct, so there’s a big challenge for us in terms of stopping their momentum and preventing them getting to the edges.

“We have our own plan in terms of what we want to do and how we intend to control things, and we can put them under serious pressure.

“The ball-in-play in the Top 14 isn’t necessarily as high as it is in the Premiership, and it’s no secret that we’ll be looking to move their big guys around the field by keeping the ball on the pitch and maintaining a high tempo.

“It will be a big atmosphere over there as it always is in France, but it’s an exciting challenge for the lads and a really good opportunity for us to build some confidence.”

Newcastle Falcons team v Perpignan (Sunday, 1pm UK time, Stade Aime Giral, live on Viaplay)

15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Redshaw, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 Josh Barton; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Bryan Byrne (captain), 3 Murray McCallum, 4 John Hawkins, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Sam Cross, 8 Freddie Lockwood.

Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Mark Dormer, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 John Kelly, 20 Josh Bainbridge, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Oliver Spencer.

Not available for selection: Phil Brantingham, Tim Cardall, Mateo Carreras, Sam Clark, James Elliott, Jordan Holgate, Isaac Keller, Ollie Leatherbarrow, Kiran McDonald, Richard Palframan, Vereimi Qorowale, Iwan Stephens, Marcus Tiffen, Philip van der Walt.

Perpignan: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Maxim Granell, 13 Job Poulet, 12 Apisai Naqalevu, 11 Lucas Dubois, 10 Matteo Rodor, 9 Sadek Deghmache; 1 Xavier Chiocci, 2 Victor Montgaillard, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 4 Bastien Chinarro, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 6 Samuel M’Foudi, 7 Kelian Galletier, 8 Valentin Moro.

Replacements: 16 Vakhtang Jincharadze, 17 Sacha Lotrian, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Tristan Labouteley, 20 Marvin Orie, 21 Matthieu Ugena, 22 Alexandre Perez, 23 Alivereti Duguivalu.

Referee: Federico Vedovelli (Italy)

g each other accountable rather than always having the coaches doing it. There’s been a real growth in that area, which I think is healthy, and everyone realises the Benetton performance wasn’t acceptable.”

Latest News