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Mike Brown to make Newcastle Falcons debut

By Kim Ekin
Mike Brown training with England

Mike Brown will make his Newcastle Falcons bow on Friday night when the side travel north to open their pre-season campaign away to Glasgow Warriors.

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It will be the first time the 35-year-old has played a professional club game for anyone other than Harlequins.

The former England fullback two-time Gallagher Premiership title winner starts at full-back for the Scotstoun Stadium clash.

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He isn’t the only former Quin set to debut for Newcastle, with GB Sevens star Ollie Lindsay-Hague named on the wing.

Former rugby league wing Iwan Stephens makes his first team debut on the other wing.

The Falcons’ bench includes potential club debuts for former Connacht prop Conor Kenny, ex-Ulster back-five forward Matthew Dalton and former Worcester lock George Merrick, while senior academy players James Blackett, Oscar Caudle, Mark Dormer, Marcus Tiffen, Ewan Greenlaw and Louie Johnson are all in line to make their first-team bows.

“We know we can expect a good, hard test up in Glasgow, and it’s the ideal way in which to start our schedule of pre-season matches,” said Newcastle Falcons Director of rugby Dean Richards

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“This time of year is less about results and more about putting the parts of our game into practice – ensuring we’re ready for the start of the Premiership season.

“The boys have been working hard during pre-season training, we’re putting some building blocks in place and it’ll be great to see how we can knit it all together against a good side in a match scenario.”

The march kicks off at 7pm on Friday at Scotstoun Stadium.

Newcastle Falcons team vs Glasgow Warriors
15 Mike Brown, 14 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Marco Fuser, 5 Philip van der Walt, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Will Welch, 8 Callum Chick.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Conor Kenny, 19 Matthew Dalton, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 James Blackett, 22 Will Haydon-Wood, 23 Ben Stevenson, [blank shirts]: Mark Dormer, Oscar Caudle, George Merrick, Freddie Lockwood, Marcus Tiffen, Ewan Greenlaw, Louie Johnson.

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The match is the first of two games in two days for Newcastle, who play host to Doncaster Knights on Saturday at Kingston Park Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

Newcastle Falcons team to face Doncaster Knights
15 Alex Tait, 14 Chidera Obonna, 13 Zach Kerr, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 George Merrick, 5 Will Montgomery, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Connor Collett, 8 Tom Marshall.

Replacements: Ollie Fletcher, Robbie Smith, Kyle Cooper, Mark Dormer, Oscar Caudle, Matthew Dalton, Marcus Tiffen, Matt Deehan, Louis Schreuder, James Blackett, Ewan Greenlaw, Louie Johnson.

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Flankly 9 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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