BRENT Wilson has pledged to ruin Newcastle Falcons' perfect start to the season when he returns to the North-East with Nottingham tonight.
Wilson made more than 100 appearances for Falcons before returning to his native New Zealand, but has subsequently returned to England to skipper Nottingham to second place in the Championship table.
Newcastle are top of the pile after winning their opening eight Championship fixtures and also extending their 100 per cent record in the British & Irish Cup.
Falcons beat Bedford, tipped by many to be their closest challengers, last weekend, but Wilson insists his new employers are capable of springing a surprise on a ground that holds a host of happy memories.
“Things are going very well here (at Nottingham) and we have had a good run of results of late,” said Wilson. “The club is certainly going places and at the start of the season we targeted a play-off spot come the end of the campaign, so we are currently on course.
“It will be weird being in the opposition team at Kingston Park, but I have a lot of good memories from my time at Newcastle.
“Towards the end, I was not starting as much and was hardly involved, so at Nottingham now I am just happy to be playing every week and having the chance to show what I can do.”
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards has made two changes to the side that beat Bedford last weekend, with Luke Fielden returning to the wing to replace the injured Tom Catterick, who is set to be sidelined for more than a month.
Centre Jamie Helleur is preferred to Alex Crockett, but the Falcons pack remains unchanged with Will Welch, James Hudson and Carlo del Fava all still unavailable. New signing James Goode is named among the replacements.
“Nottingham will be a tough examination for the lads, and we will certainly have to be at our very best to continue our winning run,” said Richards. “We’ve made a solid start to the season, but the pressure is starting to mount on the players to continue this run.
“We always knew that Bedford would be our toughest challenge of the season so far, and that proved to be the case last weekend. This week will be another big challenge for the lads to front up to.”
Second rower Sean Tomes has agreed a deal until the end of the season after impressing during an initial three-month spell.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: A Tait, Fielden, Tu'ipulotu, Helleur, Shortland, Gopperth, Lawson; Golding, Vickers, Tomaszczyk, Tomes, MacLeod, Wilson, Mayhew, Hogg.
Replacements: Thompson, Hall, Goode, York, Fury, Hodgson, Crockett.