Newcastle ring changes as Eagles braced for tough test to land spoils
British and Irish Cup
Connacht Eagles v Newcastle Falcons, 7.45, Dubarry Park, Athlone
A FIRST home game for the Eagles in Dubarry Park, but they face a strong looking Falcons side who are preparing for their championship opener in a week's time.
The Falcons have made 12 changes from the side that hammered Cross Keys in the opening round of the competition but retain some familiar faces, including former Ulster lock Carlo del Fava as well as Rory Lawson at scrum-half.
Connacht lost their opening game in the tournament, away to Newport last week, and while they enjoy home advantage here and have some exciting young talent in Daniel Qualter and Jack Carty, they could find the going difficult here.
Verdict: Newcastle Falcons
Connacht Eagles -- M Jarvis; S Layden, B Murphy, T Leader, S Macauley; J Carty, M Walsh; F Bealham, K O'Byrne, R Ah You; M Kearney, D Qualter; TJ Anderson, E Grace, E McKeon. Reps: P Reilly, JP Cooney, J Gardiner, D Heffernan, M Dolan, C Finn, D Leader.
Newcastle Falcons -- A Tait; A Higgins, A Crockett, T Tu'ipulotu, T Catterick; J Gopperth, R Lawson; J Golding, R Vickers, O Tomaszczyk; C del Fava, S MacLeod; R Mayhew, W Welch, A Hogg. Reps: M Mayhew, S Wilson, S Tomes, M Wilson, W Fury, J Hodgson, S Hufanga.