Aviva Premiership: Harlequins face Newcastle Falcons at Twickenham Stoop

Last updated: 15th February 2014  

scott lawson newcastle

Scott Lawson: Returns at hooker for visiting Newcastle

Ben Botica Harlequins AVP 2013

Ben Botica: Will start at fly-half in place of Nick Evans for Quins

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Harlequins head into their clash against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday having suffered just one defeat in their last six home matches in all-competitions.

Their last four matches in the Aviva Premiership have all been won by the home side, so they will be favourites to pick up a win against their opponents at Twickenham Stoop.

The Falcons, meanwhile, have slipped to seven straight defeats in the competition and are 11th in the table but well clear of bottom side Worcester.

Harlequins have made three changes to the starting side which beat London Wasps last weekend.

Tom Casson is named at outside centre, partnering Jordan Turner-Hall while Ben Botica starts at fly-half in place of Nick Evans who picked up a foot injury last week.

In the forwards, the front five remain unchanged, while Luke Wallace starts at openside flanker and Maurie Fa'asavalu switches to the blindside. Number eight Nick Easter captains the side.

Bounce back

The Falcons are looking to bounce back from their 24-6 defeat to Bath at The Rec with Scott Lawson returning at hooker exactly a week after winning his 40th cap for Scotland against England in the Calcutta Cup.

The experienced front-rower, 32, is one of five changes to the side with fellow Scot Mike Blair starting for the first time since the turn of the year.

Blair, the most capped Scotland scrum-half of all time, partners former Quins man Rory Clegg at half-back, while Ryan Shortland gets the nod on the wing in place of Sinoti Sinoti who is sidelined with an ankle injury.

"They are a spritely sort of side and they like to move the ball around and hold onto it for long periods," said head coach Peter Russell.

"We have to try and nullify that by bringing the kind of defensive game we showed down at Bath."

Harlequins: 15 Lindsay-Hague, 14 Smith, 13 Casson, 12 Turner-Hall, 11 Monye, 10 Botica, 9 Dickson; 1 Lambert, 2 Ward, 3 Doran Jones, 4 Kennedy, 5 Matthews, 6 Fa'asavalu, 7 Wallace, 8 Easter.

Replacements: 16 Gray, 17 Marfo, 18 Sinckler, 19 Guest, 20 Trayfoot, 21 Stuart, 22 Grimoldby, 23 Sackey.

Newcastle: 15 Cato, 14 Tait, 13 Tiesi, 12 Helleur, 11 Shortland, 10 Clegg, 9 Blair; 1 Vickers, 2 Lawson, 3 Brookes, 4 MacLeod, 5 McKenzie, 6 Welch (c), 7 Saull, 8 Wilson.

Replacements: 16 McGuigan, 17 Strain, 18 Tomaszczyk, 19 Tomes, 20 Hogg, 21 Fury, 22 Hodgson, 23 Powell.

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