Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Welch Back as Falcons Prepare for Test against Champions; THE PREVIEW: Newcastle Falcons V Exeter Tomorrow, 3.00

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Welch Back as Falcons Prepare for Test against Champions; THE PREVIEW: Newcastle Falcons V Exeter Tomorrow, 3.00

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE Falcons welcome club captain Will Welch back into their starting line-up for tomorrow's visit of Aviva Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs to Kingston Park.

The clash against the league leaders sees the Falcons going for their sixth successive victory in all competitions after completing a December clean sweep, Welch returning to the side in place of Nili Latu in the only change to Newcastle's forward pack.

Sinoti Sinoti is back on the wing after recovering from a head knock, Michael Young replacing Sonatane Takulua at scrum-half while Josh Matavesi comes in at centre for Juan Pablo Socino.

Director of rugby Dean Richards insists his side will treat the Chiefs with respect rather than trepidation, saying: "Exeter are a side who hold no fears for us but let's make no mistake about the fact they're the champions, league leaders and they're in a good run of form in the Premiership.

"They've lost a couple of times in Europe against Leinster, which surprised me, but Exeter are a very well-drilled side who play to a script and a shape far better than any other team in the Premiership.

"They have something like 25% more possession than their opponents over the course of a game, they stick very much to their pattern and it's a policy which is working for them.

"The notionhey're a Championship club who have come up and done it on a shoestring budget isn't true because they spend a reasonable amount of money on their squad - and we're not as competitive as them in the financial stakes.

"It's not the way we want to work right now - we'll get there eventually - so we have to do things a different way."

Richards added: "They have a script and they never vary from it, everyone buys into it, and we're similar in that respect.

"Our shape is different from theirs - we have a different style to suit the players we have and it should be an interesting game.

"Exeter are very good at what they do and that makes them very difficult to beat but if you compete hard at the breakdown, deny them possession and limit their usual 24 minutes of ball-in-hand to somewhere nearer 17 or 18, then it's a different game altogether. …

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