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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 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com