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Chris Harris and Marcus Watson return to boost Newcastle against Leicester

Published 11/02/2016

Marcus Watson is back for Newcastle
Marcus Watson is back for Newcastle

Newcastle have threequarters Chris Harris and Marcus Watson back to face Leicester on Friday night as they kick off the second half of the Aviva Premiership aiming to haul themselves up the table.

The Falcons dropped to the foot of the league at the halfway stage last weekend when they lost narrowly at Wasps and London Irish beat Worcester but they will be happy to back at Kingston Park, where they have won their last four matches in all competitions.

Consecutive home wins over Bath and Harlequins, as well as bonus points from their trips to London Irish and Wasps, have given Dean Richards' men some momentum as they seek to end an 11-match losing run at the hands of the Tigers.

"We can beat any team that we come across and at home especially we have been really strong of late," said Falcons flanker Nili Latu, who keeps his place in the side after scoring the only try of the game in last week's 9-8 defeat.

"It's always good to play at home in front of your own fans and family. I don't think teams particularly like coming up north to face us.

"Leicester are one of the best teams in the league but I think at the moment this is the perfect time for us to strike them. They may be looking at Europe or further down the line this season and we've been saying to ourselves we have nothing to lose."

Former England Sevens player Watson returns to the left wing hoping to build on his last outing which saw him score his first Premiership try to back up the six he collected in the group stages of the European competition.

On the other wing, Alex Tait will face older brother Mathew for the eighth time while f ormer Leicester favourite Alesana Tuilagi is on the bench against his former club after recovering from a hamstring injury and veteran Andy Goode makes his first start at home after scoring 14 points in his first two Premiership appearances in a Falcons shirt.

Prop Kensuke Hatakeyama, capped 72 times for Japan, is line to make his debut after being named on the bench.

International duo Telusa Veainu and Marcos Ayerza return for Leicester after sitting out the surprise home defeat by Sale and Tom Croft reclaims a place in the back row after starting on the bench against Sharks.

The Tigers are still third, despite suffering a first league defeat at Welford Road since September 2014, and they have not lost in the Premiership to the Falcons since a 14-10 defeat at Kingston Park in March 2009.

However, forward Graham Kitchener insists they will not be taking their hosts lightly, saying : "Newcastle have had some great results recently, beating Bath and Harlequins and they came very close last time out against Wasps so we know they are a good team that are going to pose a real threat.

"But we have put last weekend behind us now and are looking forward to getting out on a Friday night.

"The new pitch there lends itself to a fast-paced game which might suit us but we will have to wait and see. We want a win to get back on track after the Sale game."

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