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Christian Georgiou starts on wing for Leeds Carnegie
Leeds Carnegie head coach Diccon Edwards has made three changes to his side following last week's win over Plymouth Albion for tomorrow's massive clash against unbeaten Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons at Otley RUFC (noon).
All three come in the back line with Craig Hampson replacing James Doherty at scrum half, Oli Goss coming for Josh Griffin at centre and Christian Georgiou, currently on loan to Wharfedale but a former Otley player, starting on the wing in place of Matt Clark.
On the bench, new loan signings Ollie Frost and James Currie are set to make their debuts as replacements having arrived from Worcester Warriors this week for the rest of the season, while Otley old boy Scott Freer and Pete Lucock are also drafted into the squad.
Dominic Barrow, another Otley old boy, is still unavailable as he is with the England under-20 squad in Ireland, while Rory Clegg has been recalled this weekend by Harlequins.
Newcastle Falcons have made two changes, experienced internationals Rory Lawson and Taiasina Tu’ifua both coming into the starting line-up.#
After a month without league action due to his side's British and Irish Cup exploits, coupled with the blizzard conditions that swept the nation, Falcons boss Dean Richards has welcomed the return of Championship rugby.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s game, and Leeds will be the biggest challenge that the boys will have faced since Bedford Blues away,” said Richards, who insists fourth-placed Leeds will fancy their chances of being the first club to topple the Falcons this campaign.
He added: “Leeds are a good side, they are coached well and, speaking to a few boys down there, they are really up for this game.
“With the change of venue and kick-off time they will feel confident that they can turn us over, but I think it’s a great opportunity for us to show what we’re all about.”
Newcastle are 12 points clear at the top of the table with 13 wins out of 13 and are edging closer to cementing a play-off berth.
Falcons lock James Goode is really looking forward to tomorrow's match, adding: “The boys can’t wait to get stuck into the league games again.
“Like many teams, we have not had as much rugby as we would have liked due to the bad weather.
“We managed to get our cup game played at Cross Keys a week ago but we are now looking forward to the Championship stuff and getting back into it.
“That is what we are here for, trying to get back into the Premiership and wanting to continue our 100 per cent record.”
Leeds Carnegie: 15 Stevie McColl; 14 Christian Georgiou, 13 Oli Goss, 12 Fred Burdon, 11 David Doherty; 10 Joe Ford, 9 Craig Hampson; 1 Ben Harris, 2 Phil Nilsen, 3 Damien Tussac, 4 Calum Green, 5 Mike Myerscough, 6 Rob Baldwin, 8 Ryan Burrows, 7 Jacob Rowan (captain). Replacements: 16 Scott Freer, 17 Lee Imiolek, 18 James Currie, 19 Matt Smith, 20 Dominic Moon, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Pete Lucock.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick; 14 Andrew Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland; 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Rory Lawson; 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 James Hudson, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Mark Wilson, 8 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 7 Will Welch (captain). Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 James Goode, 19 Ally Hogg, 20 Warren Fury, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Suka Hufanga.