Exiles v Newcastle: Teams
By Tony Curtis. Last Updated: 21/09/07 3:47pm
Geraghty: starting role
At the Madejski Stadium, Sunday September 23, KO 3pm
London Irish are boosted by the return to fitness of captain Bob Casey and fly-half Shane Geraghty for the visit of Newcastle Falcons to the Madejski Stadium.
Casey missed the season-opening defeat at Harlequins due to a leg injury, but is fit to take his place in the second-row against Newcastle.
Geraghty - who has been rehabilitating a leg injury suffered while training with England back in June - is ready to feature in the starting line-up after being an unused replacement last week.
Casey, Geraghty and Dan Murphy are the three changes to the XV that lost at Twickenham, while Jeremy Staunton switches to inside centre to accommodate Geraghty.
Kieran Roche, Tonga Lea'aetoa and Nils Mordt all drop down to the replacements bench.
Falcons flying high
Newcastle director of rugby John Fletcher is refusing to get carried away after his side opened up their campaign with victory over Sale.
The Falcons overcame the 2006 champions 33-12 at Kingston Park, but Fletcher insists there are still areas for his side to work on.
He told the club's official website: "I expected a win, I thought we would win and we did win, but that's what the players are paid to do so you won't see us singing and dancing about it.
"Naturally a victory brings confidence, and winning is a habit so it's good to get off to a start like that so early in the season.
"It was a good start, not a perfect one, but to get five points from the game puts us in reasonable spirits going in to this weekend.
"Tactically we played much better, but there are still a lot of areas where we can improve so we're not patting ourselves on the back after one win."
Fletcher has been forced to make three changes - with Toby Flood teaming up with the England squad in France, while Mark Mayerhofler and Andy Buist have been ruled out through injury.
Steve Jones has been handed the task of filling Flood's boots, with Tom Dillon and Andy Perry replacing Mayerhofler and Buist respectively.
Newcastle do welcome John Rudd back on to the wing after he was forced to miss the win over Sale with an ankle injury, while South African No 8 Russell Winter is named on the bench.
London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Mark Ireland, 12 Jeremy Staunton, 11 Tomas De Vedia, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9. Paul Hodgson; 1 Dan Murphy, 2 David Paice, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 4 Nick Kennedy, 5 Bob Casey (capt), 6 Declan Danaher, 7 Richard Thorpe, 8 Phil Murphy
Replacements: 16 Casey Dunning, 17 Stuart Mackie, 18 Tonga Lea'aetoa, 19 Kieran Roche, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Nils Mordt
Newcastle: 15 Matthew Burke, 14 Tom May, 13 Tom Dillon, 12 Joe Shaw, 11 John Rudd, 10 Steve Jones, 9 James Grindal, 1 Joe McDonnell, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Micky Ward, 4 Andy Perry, 5 Mark Sorenson, 6 Geoff Parling, 7 Ben Woods, 8 Phil Dowson (capt)
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 David Wilson, 18 Russell Winter, 19 Brent Wilson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Adam Dehaty, 22 Ollie Phillips