Depleted Newcastle eye third Champions Cup win in Edinburgh
Newcastle rugby director expecting interesting contest against ‘very workman-like team’
Newcastle director of Rugby Dean Richards: “Edinburgh are a really good side who are competitive in all areas.” Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Kick off: 7.45pm, Friday. Venue: Murrayfield. On TV: BT Sport 2.
Newcastle have been hit hard by injuries ahead of Friday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash against Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
England backrow forward Mark Wilson, who has an ear infection, is among the absentees, with the Falcons’ tighthead prop resources being particularly stretched.
“We have had three tighthead injuries in the last 24 hours, and with Jon Welsh, Craig Mitchell and Paul Mullen all also unavailable, if these props are unfit we have no tighthead cover,” Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards told the club’s official website.
“We are in dialogue with EPCR [European Professional Club Rugby] to try to resolve the issue, and that communication will continue.”
Falcons’ other absentees include Kyle Cooper, Sean Robinson, Nemani Nagusa, Michael Young, Will Welch and Joel Hodgson as they bid for a third successive Pool Five victory. Despite being bottom of the Premiership, Newcastle have excelled on the European stage this term, beating Toulon and Montpellier to hold a two-point advantage over Edinburgh.
“Edinburgh are a really good side who are competitive in all areas,” Richards added. “A little bit like ourselves, they are not built around superstars, they are a very workman-like team and they have a habit of winning tight games, so it will be a really interesting contest.
“We’ve had the beauty of winning both of our games in Europe, so everything is up for grabs in terms of how we can move on in this competition, and it’s an important game for us.”
EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; D Graham, J Johnstone, C Dean, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, W Nel, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, B Mata.
Replacements: D Cherry, A Dell, S Berghan, C Hunter-Hill, L Hamilton, N Fowles, S Hickey, J Socino.
NEWCASTLE: A Tait; T Arscott, C Harris, P Bettencourt, A Radwan; B Connon, T Takulua; A Brocklebank, G McGuigan, D Wilson, T Cavubati, G Young, R Burrows, G Graham, C Chick.
Replacements: S Socino, T Davison, S Mavinga, C Green, S Uzokwe, S Stuart, T Flood, J Williams.