Aviva Premiership: Newcastle host London Irish as Leicester travel to London Wasps
Last Updated: 27/10/13 2:40pm
Ally Hogg: Has been named as Newcastle's captain for Sunday's fixture against London Irish
Newcastle and London Irish will both be keen to move themselves further away from the foot of the table when they clash at Kingston Park on Sunday.
The Falcons and the Exiles both sit on nine points apiece and although they are well clear of basement boys Worcester, a third league win of the campaign for either could elevate them into the top half of the table.
The hosts will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in the Aviva Premiership following their 16-11 triumph at Worcester Warriors earlier this month.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards makes seven changes from the line-up that faced Brive last time out in the Amlin Challenge Cup, including handing a start to Danny Barnes in the centres.
Full-back Alex Tait returns after recovering from a virus, while Tom Catterick replaces Sean Brown on the wing. Also, Rory Clegg and Mike Blair form the half-back combination.
Ally Hogg leads the side from the back row with club captain Will Welch among the replacements - he is set to make his 100th appearance for the Falcons if he is summoned from the bench.
London Irish, meanwhile, recall Chris Hala'ufia, as he joins Samoa international Ofisa Treviranus and Blair Cowan, who was recently called into the Scotland training squad, in the visiting side's back row.
Their only victory away from home in their last six trips in league action was a 20-18 triumph over Worcester in round two this year.
Wasps have Wade
Sunday also sees second-bottom London Wasps in action, as they welcome Leicester to Adam's Park in a 3pm kick-off.
The hosts are boosted by the availability of winger Christian Wade, while Elliot Daly, Tom Palmer and Ashley Johnson all return to the starting line-up.
Leicester welcome back Marcos Ayerza, who has not played for the club since last April, from international duty themselves and hand first starts to Owen Williams and Terrence Hepetema.
Williams is in at fly-half in the absence of Toby Flood for a match that will see director of rugby Richard Cockerill return to match-day duties after completing his nine-game suspension.
Pablo Matera, the Argentina international back-rower signed following the loss of Tom Croft due a long-term knee injury, is named on the bench for the Tigers.
Wasps have won only once in their last 12 league outings, though Leicester have not tasted victory at Adam's Park since September 2007.