Aviva Premiership: Team news for opener between Newcastle and Bath
Last Updated: September 6, 2013 7:12pm
Mike Blair: Set to make Newcastle debut against Bath on Friday
Newly-promoted Newcastle have named six new signings in their starting line-up to face Bath in the Aviva Premiership opener on Friday.
There are three new faces in both the forwards and backs, Phil Godman and Mike Blair forming a new half-back combination and former Munster player Danny Barnes getting the nod outside centre.
In the pack, Franck Montanella starts at loosehead prop, with Dom Barrow and Andy Saull occupying the flanker spots.
Ally Hogg skippers the Falcons in the absence of Will Welch, who misses out after suffering an injury in a pre-season clash with Edinburgh.
Bath have also named a new-look line-up, with five of their new signings set to make competitive debuts at Kingston Park.
George Ford, Matt Garvey, Leroy Houston, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have all been named in the starting XV, while Gavin Henson could make his debut off the bench.
Newcastle may be buoyed by the fact that a newly-promoted Aviva Premiership side has lost a round one game just once since 2007, but that was also the year in which they last won on the opening weekend.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg (c), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Dom Barrow, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 Gary Strain, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Adam Powell.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Mat Gilbert, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 21 Micky Young, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Tom Biggs.