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Aviva Premiership: Newcastle Falcons entertain London Wasps at Kingston Park
- Festive fancies
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
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Newcastle will be aiming to bounce back from four consecutive defeats when they host London Wasps in Friday's Aviva Premiership clash at Kingston Park.
The Falcons have won just three matches all season, while Wasps sit two spots and 10 points clear of their rivals in the standing.
Dean Richards has made four changes to his Falcons starting line-up for this crucial home clash.
A new centre pairing of Jamie Helleur and James Fitzpatrick will take to the field, with Helleur returning to the starting XV following a lengthy spell on the side line through injury.
The Samoan international had a half-hour cameo at Exeter Chiefs last weekend to get him in the mood for the visit of Dai Young's outfit.
Warren Fury starts at scrum-half alongside Phil Godman, and skipper Will Welch is Richards' fourth and final change as he replaces Andy Saull at openside flanker.
"I'm really looking forward to the game, and there's going to be a fantastic atmosphere at Kingston Park," said Richards.
"I hear ticket sales are going really well and we're expecting a bumper crowd so in that respect I can't wait.
"We've got a big week now with Wasps tomorrow and then Sale Sharks next week. We know they are going to be tough games, but all games in this league are competitive and we're raring to go."
Wasps boss Dai Young retains faith in the same XV that were edged out 17-15 by a last-gasp Stephen Myler penalty at home to Northampton Saints last week.
"The manner of the loss last weekend was tough for us to take, losing in the last play of the game is never going to be easy, but I was very proud of the way that our boys fronted up against a very powerful Northampton outfit," said Young.
"This Friday will provide a similar test; Newcastle are a very physical side who will pose us a number of threats up front as well as in the backline, which we must meet head on."
Newcastle Falcons: 15 A Tait, 14 N Cato, 13 J Helleur, 12 J Fitzpatrick, 11 R Shortland, 10 P Godman, 9 W Fury, 1 R Vickers, 2 S Lawson, 3 K Brookes, 4 C del Fava, 5 F McKenzie, 6 R Mayhew, 7 W Welch, 8 A Hogg.
Replacements: 16 G McGuigan 17 F Montanella, 18 O Tomaszczyk, 19 S Tomes, 20 M Wilson, 21 C Pilgrim, 22 R Clegg, 23 D Barnes.
London Wasps: 15 E Daly, 14 W Helu, 13 C Bell (c), 12 C Hayter, 11 T Varndell, 10 A Goode, 9 C Davies, 1 M Mullan, 2 C Festuccia, 3 J Cooper-Woolley, 4 T Palmer, 5 J Launchbury, 6 A Johnson, 7 J Haskell, 8 S Jones.
Replacements: 16 T Lindsay, 17 T Vea, 18 P Swainston, 19 J Cannon, 20 E Jackson, 21 J Simpson, 22 J Carlisle, 23 A Suniula.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com