Stage set for basement battle
November 3, 2011
Worcester's Joe Carlisle will make only his second start of the Premiership campaign © Getty Images
The Aviva Premiership's bottom two sides will go head-to-head when Newcastle Falcons play host to Worcester Warriors at Kingston Park on Friday night.
The Falcons currently prop up the table having notched just one victory in seven outings - over London Wasps last month - while the Warriors' plight has not been much better with just two wins against Northampton and Sale. Separated by five points, both sides are also looking to end a two-match losing run in the Premiership.
As their position in the table would suggest, these sides have also struggled to cross the whitewash this season with just 14 tries between them so expect the boot to play a major role in their latest Premiership meeting - their first since the Warriors recorded a 13-0 on their way to relegation during the 2009-10 season.
Newcastle - Player to Watch: Top try scorer Greg Goosen returns to the Falcons' line-up and will be hoping to extend his strong run of form
Newcastle - Team News: The Falcons are boosted by the return of skipper James Hudson having served a four-week suspension for a dangerous tackle. Head coach Alan Tait makes four further changes to his side with Goosen replacing Jeremy Manning at fullback while Alex Tait returns to the wing and Jordi Pasqualin gets the nod at scrum-half. Kiwi Richard Mayhew comes back in to the side to bolster a strong forward line which includes Scotland international Euan Murray.
Worcester - Player to Watch: Joe Carlisle is handed the No.10 jersey ahead of Andy Goode and will be keen to make the most of his opportunity.
Worcester - Team News: Lock Craig Gillies will make his 250th appearance for the Warriors while head coach Richard Hill makes two changes to his starting line-up. In addition to Carlisle being handed the play-making duties, hooker Aleki Lutui also starts his first game since returning from the Rugby World Cup with Tonga. Ed Shervington is recalled to the bench, after missing the last league game through illness.
Key Battle: In what is sure to be a tense encounter, the composure and kicking return of the Falcons' Jimmy Gopperth and opposite number Joe Carlisle will be key to deciding the contest.
Trivia: Newcastle have won just one of their last seven encounters with Worcester in all competitions - a 14-3 win in the Premiership at Kingston Park on November 1, 2009, whilst the Warriors' only previous victory on Newcastle's turf came on their first ever visit on April 10, 2005.
Stats: The Warriors are the league's lowest scorers with just 94 points in their seven games this term compared to the Falcons' 114.
"It has certainly been a long four weeks for me and it has been very frustrating to have to watch the boys from the sideline especially when I've been really fit and well."
"This is a big game and we know what to expect, Newcastle will be firing and we have got to match that."
Prediction: Newcastle to make things interesting at the Premiership basement with a narrow victory.
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