Gloucester v Newcastle Falcons
September 30, 2008
Scotland hooker Scott Lawson is set to debut for Gloucester © Getty Images
Gloucester's new signing Scott Lawson will make his debut in Tuesday night's fixture against Newcastle.
The Scotland international and former Sale Sharks hooker comes into the starting line-up in place of Olivier Azam, who moves to the bench.
Andy Titterrell was not considered for selection after taking a bang to the head during Gloucester's 23-9 defeat at Edgeley Park on Friday. Lawson signed for Gloucester earlier this month on a contract that will run until the end of next season and has been capped 16 times by his country.
He is one of three changes to the Gloucester pack from the one that faced Sale last week. Nick Wood returns at loose-head prop in place of David Young, while Alasdair Strokosch comes in on the openside flank in place of Andy Hazell, who moves to the bench.
At half-back, scrum-half Gareth Cooper returns in the number nine shirt in place of Rory Lawson and Olly Barkley gets his first opportunity at stand-off. Mike Tindall will skipper the side from the number 12 position, while Matthew Watkins will retain the number 13 shirt.
There are two changes in the back three as Olly Morgan returns to full-back following his spell on the bench last weekend and Iain Balshaw moves from number 15 to the flank in place of Lesley Vainikolo. James Simpson-Daniel completes the back three.
"With a turn-around like the one we face, we have to explore other options for this contest and that is what we have done," said head coach Dean Ryan. "We have to try and get ourselves in the right areas of the field more consistently and reduce our error count to be as effective as we know we can be.
"We did some good things on Friday against Sale but probably in areas of the field that diluted their effectiveness.
"Any game at Kingsholm under lights is a fantastic occasion because it intensifies the atmosphere and makes it even more special. Although we are turning around quickly this is obviously a very significant game for us."
Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby Steve Bates has made three changes to his side following the quick turnaround from the last fixture.
Ollie Phillips comes in to the side on the wing for John Rudd, who picked up a knock in the action of scoring a try in the Falcons' 17-3 victory over Bristol on Friday.
At scrum half Hall Charlton starts in place of James Grindal, whilst the only other change to the starting XV sees Micky Ward pack down at loose head prop with Joe McDonnell lying in wait on the bench.
Bates said, "This week represents somewhat of a mini-tour for us, being on the road for five days, and having been in action only last Friday our players are showing enormous character in putting their hands up for selection just four days after a bruising encounter with Bristol.
"Such a short turnaround does pose enormous challenges for us in terms of not having any real time to train with the players, but having said that Gloucester also played on Friday so we just have to get on with it and prepare as best we can."
Gloucester: Olly Morgan; James Simpson-Daniel, Matthew Watkins, Mike Tindall (c), Iain Balshaw; Olly Barkley, Gareth Cooper; Nick Wood, Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson, Marco Bortolami, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway.
Replacements: Olivier Azam, David Young, Apo Satala, Andy Hazell, Rory Lawson, Willie Walker, Mark Foster
Newcastle Falcons: Steve Jones, Tim Visser, Jamie Noon, Tom May, Ollie Phillips, Jonny Wilkinson, Hall Charlton, Micky Ward, Matt Thompson, Carl Hayman, Andy Perry, Mark Sorenson, Adam Balding, Ed Williamson, Phil Dowson (c)
Replacements: Andy Long, Joe McDonnell, Tim Swinson, Russell Winter, Micky Young, Spencer Davey, Rory Clegg