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Newcastle v Bedford Blues - RFU Championship final match preview
- Richards refusing to count chickens
- Pleased for the players
- Newcastle back in the Premiership
- Rayer proud of team
Newcastle Falcons will look to seal their immediate return to the top-flight on Wednesday when they tackle Bedford Blues in the second leg of the RFU Championship play-off final.
The Falcons, who were relegated last season, have already put themselves in a strong position after winning the first leg 18-9 at Goldington Road.
However Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards is taking nothing for granted.
He told FalconsTV: "Nine points is nothing. Last season against London Welsh in the semi-final they went something like 17 points down and came right back to only lose by a few, so they are a capable side and can play a good brand of rugby.
"Bedford can certainly surprise us, and if I had lost to a team four times in the same season I would be looking to throw something different in there."
While the Blues might throw in a surprise, Richards has opted to stick with the same XV that ground out victory in the first leg.
He has made an alteration on the bench, though, with Matt Thompson replacing Michael Mayhew as cover for the No 2 shirt.
Bedford boss Mike Rayer has opted to mix things up with six changes to his line-up as he looks to throw caution to the wind.
Ollie Dodge, Josh Bassett, Darryl Veenendaal and Jake Sharp are named in the back division, while Scott Spurling and Dan Seal come into the front row.
Blues coach Matt Volland said: "We know that we head into the game as massive underdogs considering the nine point gap, but the truth is that we have nothing to lose and we can afford to take some risks.
"Last Thursday we saw two teams putting in fantastic defensive displays and snuffing each other out on the rare occasions that opportunities did arise. It was true cup final rugby and unfortunately our penalty count let us down badly.
"We know what we have to do tomorrow night and the first score of the evening is going to be so important. The lads are raring to go and they really want to finish this season on a high."
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Suka Hufanga, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch, 8 Ally Hogg.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Jonny Golding, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 James Hudson, 20 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 21 Rory Lawson, 22 Waisea Luveniyali.
Bedford: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 James Short, 13 Ollie Dodge, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jake Sharp, 9 Darryl Veenendaal, 1 Ricky Reeves, 2 Scott Spurling, 3 Dan Seal, 4 Mike Howard, 5 Paul Tupai, 6 Gregor Gillanders, 7 Darren Fox (c), 8 Nick Fenton-Wells.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Phil Boulton, 18 Ben Gulliver, 19 Don Barrell, 20 Luke Baldwin, 21 Ian Vass, 22 James Pritchard.You can catch Newcastle take on Bedford on Wednesday on Sky Sports 2 HD, or you can follow the action via our live and interactive behind-the-scenes commentary at skysports.com
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|Friday 19th September|
|19:30||Moseley vs Yorkshire Carnegie|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:30||Doncaster vs Worcester|
|15:00||London Scottish vs Bedford|
|15:00||Rotherham Titans vs Plymouth Albion|
|Sunday 21st September|
|15:00||Bristol vs Cornish Pirates|
|15:00||Nottingham vs Jersey|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Jersey vs Rotherham Titans|
|15:00||Worcester vs Nottingham|
|15:00||Cornish Pirates vs Moseley|
|15:00||Plymouth Albion vs Bedford|
|15:00||Leeds Carnegie vs Doncaster|
|15:00||Bristol vs London Scottish|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||London Scottish vs Plymouth Albion|
|15:00||Rotherham Titans vs Worcester|
|15:00||Moseley vs Bristol|
|15:00||Nottingham vs Leeds Carnegie|
|15:00||Doncaster vs Cornish Pirates|
|Saturday 8th November|
|15:00||Cornish Pirates vs Nottingham|
|15:00||Worcester vs Bedford|
|15:00||Leeds Carnegie vs Rotherham Titans|
|15:00||Moseley vs London Scottish|
|15:00||Jersey vs Plymouth Albion|
|15:00||Bristol vs Doncaster|
|Saturday 15th November|
|15:00||Nottingham vs Bristol|
|15:00||Doncaster vs Moseley|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Cornish Pirates 19 - 30 London Scottish|
|Yorkshire Carnegie 13 - 26 Bristol|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Jersey 17 - 23 Doncaster|
|Plymouth Albion 17 - 24 Nottingham|
|Worcester 23 - 7 Moseley|
|Bedford 15 - 42 Rotherham Titans|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Cornish Pirates 18 - 29 Yorkshire Carnegie|
|Bristol 23 - 19 Worcester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Moseley 22 - 22 Jersey|
|London Scottish 32 - 23 Rotherham Titans|
|Doncaster 27 - 6 Plymouth Albion|
|Friday 5th September|
|Nottingham 19 - 10 Bedford|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com