Falcons and Wasps out to stop the rot
September 29, 2011
Wasps fullback Richard Haughton looks for support during his side's defeat at Exeter © Getty Images
Newcastle Falcons go in search of their first win of the Aviva Premiership season whey they take on free-falling London Wasps at Kingston Park on Sunday afternoon.
The home side have managed to accrue just a solitary bonus point from the first four rounds of what has been a miserable season to date for the men from the north east. After opening with pretty comprehensive defeats at home to Bath and away to Exeter, there had, at least, been some signs of encouragement in their 27-26 defeat by Leicester at Kingston Park a fortnight ago. However, head coach Alan Tait was almost literally left tearing his hair during last weekend's 46-29 loss to London Irish, labelling his side's display as "unacceptable". However, matters are quickening pace off the field with Semore Kurdi acquiring a controlling stake in the northern side replacing outgoing chairman and owner Dave Thompson.
The one positive ahead of this weekend's outing is perhaps the feeling that they are running into Wasps at precisely the right time. The Londoners made a storming start to the season and were excitedly talked about title contenders after opening with wins over Saracens and Leicester. However, defeat at home to Sale in round three appeared to knock their belief and they were beaten again last weekend, at Exeter. Consequently, Young is already facing the first big test of his short reign at Adams Park.
Newcastle Falcons - Player to Watch: Corne Uys will line up for the Falcons for the first time against Wasps on Sunday and he will be going all out to change their fortunes. The former Cheetahs player was the high-profile signing Alan Tait craved after and following Ryan Cross' decision to move to the Top 14, Uys emerged as their first-choice outside centre.
Newcastle Falcons - Team News: Uys takes his bow for the Falcons in the centres where he will partner Samoan Jamie Helleur. Last season's top scorer Luke Fielden returns on the wing while Will Chudley is given his first chance to impress from the outset this season. The pack is unchanged with Mark Wilson among the replacements.
London Wasps - Player to Watch: Chris Bell has make a storming start to his Wasps career in the outside centre berth. Alongside Riki Flutey the pair are starting to form that telepathic understanding that is essential in the midfield.
London Wasps - Team News: Dai Young makes three changes from the side which fell to the Chiefs with John Hart - back to captain the side, Hugo Southwell and Ben Broster all returning. Ross Filipo shifts to the second-row to cover Marco Wentzel's absence in a squad which features six players under the age of 20.
Key Battle: Luke Fielden is up against Christian Wade and Tom Varndell on the flanks in what promises to be a mouth-watering battle. Fielden was in prolific form last season for the Falcons and also in their JP Morgan Sevens campaign so expect the flyer to be going all out on Sunday.
Trivia: Former Falcons fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has still scored more points in this fixture (207) than any other player
Stats: London Wasps winger Christian Wade is the league's top try scorer, having notched four times already.
" The club is ambitious and wants to go places. I heard Newcastle might be interested - I did some research and with the awesome fan-base that the club has it seemed like a perfect fit "
"We're still finding our feet as a team and I'm expecting the guys to take another step up forward this weekend."
Prediction: Despite Newcastle's poor start to the season - Kingston Park is a tough place to go to. Despite form, history and just about everything else going against the Falcons, we fancy the home side to steal this by the narrowest of margins.
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