SCOTT LAWSON will enjoy one of the proudest moments of his career when he joins Newcastle Falcons’ century club in tomorrow’s Aviva Premiership game with Gloucester.

Lawson will make his 100th competitive Falcons appearance at Kingston Park, having been named in a starting line-up that features five changes from the side that was well beaten at Wasps last weekend.

The 36-year-old hooker has proved a front-row stalwart since moving to Tyneside a little over four years ago, with his performances having helped Newcastle develop a pack capable of competing with the best units on display in the Premiership.

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“With coming so late in my career, it’s something I probably didn’t think would happen when I joined the club four-and-a-half years ago,” said Lawson, who is a 46-time capped Scotland international.

“It’s such an attritional game these days which means it can be tough to post big numbers on the appearance board. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to play a lot of games, and I’m honestly delighted to be within touching distance of the hundred.”

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards hailed his evergreen hooker, adding: “Scotty is a great professional who looks after the detail of his game and delivers a consistent level of performance each time he takes the field. It’s great for him to reach the hundred and I know he’ll be fired up to mark the occasion against one of his former clubs.”

Richards has made three changes in the backline for tomorrow’s game, with an all-Argentinean centre pairing of Juan Pablo Socino and Belisario Agulla set to be fed by fly-half Joel Hodgson.

Up front, Will Witty joins the second row alongside Sean Robinson, who is making his 50th Falcons appearance, while Nili Latu bolsters a reshuffled back row which sees captain Will Welch sliding across to the openside flank.

Newcastle did the double over Gloucester last season, but Richards admits his side will have to improve markedly on their Wasps display if they are to enjoy another success tomorrow.

“It wasn’t anywhere near our best performance (against Wasps), but we have moved on quickly from that, taking on board the lessons and showing a huge focus in training this week,” he said.

“Gloucester play a very wide game and also have threats around the ruck at times with their scrum-half, so we've really got to be on our mettle from a defensive point of view. We've got our own thoughts on how we can attack and exploit their defence, and we're just looking forward to going out there and trying to win the game.”


Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley, Tait, Agulla, Socino, Sinoti, Hodgson, Stuart; Vickers, Lawson, Welsh, Witty, Robinson, M Wilson, Welch, Latu.