The Newcastle Falcons are in a spot of bother ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup clash with Edinburgh which kicks off at Murrayfield at 7.45 pm this evening.
In the build-up to this game, the Falcons have been hit by a spate of injuries which has seen three tightheads out injured, in addition to Jon Welsh, Craig Mitchell and Paul Mullen.
As a result, director of rugby Dean Richards named two looseheads on the bench but it was hoped that they could register Jack Payne with the EPCR in time for tonight’s kick-off.
It seems that request has fallen on deaf ears and to make matters worse, David Wilson who was named to start at tighthead and prop Trevor Davison who was named on the bench, have both been ruled out with injury at this late stage.
Some late team changes. Sam Lockwood starts at 3, Sami Mavinga wears 18 and we have no number 17. We have been in dialogue with EPCR to register an additional prop in Jack Payne for more than a day, but regrettably we have not been permitted to so.
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) December 7, 2018
As a result, Sam Lockwood has been parachuted into the starting XV and starts at tighthead, having not been named in the original squad.
This leaves a space open on the bench which will not be filled due to the inability to get Payne registered. As a result, the Falcons have a final matchday squad of 22 which leaves Mavinga, who is a loosehead, to cover both prop positions on the bench.
Richards was fuming before the game as he told BT Sport:
“Unfortunately, EPCR have been a bit inflexible there. If they’re not bothered about player welfare then so be it.
“We’re going to be under pressure on the right-hand side of the scrum thanks to EPCR but we’ll see what happens.”