Gonzalo Tiesi captain's Newcastle Falcons in this Sunday's crucial Aviva Premiership clash with Worcester Warriors at Kingston Park.
- Related Content
Argentina international centre Tiesi, who penned a new deal on Tyneside earlier this week, leads out the Falcons in the absence of the injured Will Welch.
Mark Wilson makes a welcome return to the back-row, replacing Welch, while there are two changes in the backline with scrum-half Warren Fury and winger Sinoti Sinoti handed starts.
After impressing in Newcastle's late fight-back at Gloucester Rugby last weekend, Welshman Fury gets the nod ahead of Mike Blair who drops to the bench.
Samoan flyer Sinoti returns from an ankle injury and comes in for Zach Kibirige whose season has been cut short by a broken leg sustained at Kingsholm last week.
"If you look at the last five to six weeks with the ground firming up, we have played some outstanding rugby," said director of rugby Dean Richards.
Meanwhile, Rob O'Donnell is the only change to the Warriors starting line-up.
The tighthead steps in for Euan Murray, who misses the game due to religious reasons. Loan signing Jerome Schuster is named among the replacements. Schuster could make his Warriors debut after joining the club from Leicester Tigers last month.
"The pressure is on us because we are going into a game where we can't afford to lose because if we do that's pretty much it," said Director of Rugby Dean Ryan.
"The team has progressed massively. We can see tangible differences from what we were seeing several months ago. They are giving their all."
"There is a real clear buy-in to the team ethos that we are trying to build."
"Schuster has been great around the squad. We lost John Andress and we always knew Euan Murray would be called-up for international action and that he wouldn't be available on Sundays."
"The 23 that you see are pretty much going to be in the 23 every week. We just have to get them fresh enough and in the right space to give each game a go."
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi (c), 12 Danny Barnes, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Chris York 7 Andy Saull, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements:16 George McGuigan, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Mike Blair, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 James Fitzpatrick
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Jerome Schuster, 19 Semisi Taulava, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Andy Symon.
Date: Sunday, March 30
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Andrew Pearce
Television match official: Rowan Kitt