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Newcastle v Saracens: Teams
At Kingston Park, Sunday October 4, kick-off 3pm
Newcastle welcome back club captain Carl Hayman for Sunday's visit of leaders Saracens to Kingston Park.
The prop missed last Friday's draw with Harlequins but returns to the pack to play alongside Jon Golding and Matt Thompson in the front row.
The only other change for the Falcons sees Ed Williamson slide back into the back row following a bout of gastroenteritis.
Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates knows his side, who have yet to taste victory this season following three draws and a loss, face a tough task this weekend against the early pacesetters in the Guinness Premiership.
"Their record this season speaks for itself, and we know what sort of a test we are in for this weekend," he said.
"Saracens have a very powerful pack and an excellent kick-chase game, so there will be a massive emphasis on playing in the right areas and not allowing them to punish us by kicking penalties.
"We have an enormous amount of respect for what they have done so far this season, but also a belief in our own ability to get the job done with the quality of personnel we have within our squad."
Sarries head north looking to maintain their 100 percent start to the domestic season, though they will have to do so without Steve Borthwick.
The England captain suffered an eye injury in the 19-16 victory over last week's Gloucester. He is expected to be sidelined for two-to-four weeks.
Tom Ryder replaces Borthwick at lock behind an all-Italian front row of Matias Aguero, Fabio Ongaro and Carlos Nieto.
Fly-half Derick Hougaard and winger Richard Hauhgton both start after missing the opening games of the new campaign through injury.
Meanwhile on the bench, scrum-half Kevin Barrett is named amongst the replacements as New Zealander Justin Marshall is ruled out with a knock.
Despite managing four wins from four, Saracens coach Mark McCall knows the Falcons will be no pushovers in front of their own spectators.
"It's a very tough place to go to and in the dressing room after Sunday's game, Hugh Vyvyan reminded the players that in his time at the club, Saracens have never won at Newcastle," he said.
"After our start to the season, there is a good confidence in the squad but we are not getting carried away.
"This is a new squad and we are building from the bottom and while we are enjoying the wins, we know there is still a long way to go yet."
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Filipo Levi, 7 Brent Wilson, 6 Ed Williamson, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Carl Hayman (captain), 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Laurence Ovens, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Adam Balding, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Gcobani Bobo.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Justin Melck, 6 Wikus van Heerden(c), 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Richard Skuse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Michael Owen, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Glen Jackson, 23 Michael Horak.
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|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale Sharks vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:45||Bath vs London Irish|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Northampton vs Saracens|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Friday 8th May|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Bath|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Irish|
|15:15||Wasps vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 10th May|
|14:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
|Saturday 16th May|
|15:30||Exeter vs Sale|
|Sunday 8th March|
|Newcastle Falcons 12 - 16 Leicester Tigers|
|Wasps 17 - 26 Saracens|
|Saturday 7th March|
|Gloucester 33 - 33 Northampton|
|Exeter 74 - 19 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 26 - 20 London Irish|
|Friday 6th March|
|Bath 12 - 3 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com