Williams given nod to make league bow
CENTRE DRAFTED IN TO FACE WARRIORS
JOHNNY Williams makes his first Gallagher Premiership appearance for Newcastle Falcons as they travel to Worcester Warriors today.
The former London Irish centre shone for the Falcons during preseason, scoring a try in the 42-17 away victory over European and Pro 14 champions Leinster, and comes into the side in place of Josh Matavesi following the injury he picked up at Leicester Tigers last weekend.
Adam Radwan replaces the injured Vereniki Goneva on the right wing, Newcastle otherwise unchanged from the side which scored five tries at Welford Road last time out.
Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Our record at Sixways has not been great in recent seasons and it is a difficult place to play but at the same time we should be going there with confidence and with a view to taking back some points.
“It is like everything – there is always a point whereby a run of defeats comes to an end and there is no reason why that should not be on Saturday.
“It certainly will not be easy because Worcester are really competitive and they take a brutal approach to the game.
“You have to front up physically to that threat. We are prepared for that approach but are also looking to impose our own shape on to the game.” After losing to champions Saracens and a firedup Leicester Tigers team in their opening two games, Richards added: “Of the four halves of rugby we have played I would say we have had three decent ones and one terrible one. “Against Saracens I felt we deserved to get something out of it. There was a blatant knock-on at the end which cost us a bonus point and the chance to go on and win the game and at Leicester we should have had a penalty try.
“The refereeing department is still a little bit at odds with us regarding that but a penalty try at that stage would have made it a four-point game, despite us having started so slowly during the first half.
“The sense of frustration the players feel at certain key decisions not going our way perhaps adds fuel to the fire in terms of really wanting that first win but you cannot look for the referees to do it.
“You don’t always get that bit of luck and we have to look to ourselves.
“When you look at that fixture list in the cold light of day it is pretty brutal - but that is what we are here for and what excites us.
“It is the hardest start to a season we have had during my time at the club and we will take out of these first six games what we take out of them before regrouping and moving forward.
“We are under no illusions as to how difficult this first block is, but by the same token they are all there for the taking in our eyes.”
Johnny Williams will make his Premiership debut for Newcastle today. Pictured left, Dean Richards