NEWCASTLE FALCONS will head to London Irish for their final game of 2017 tomorrow buoyed by some welcome international recognition.

Gary Graham will line up in the Falcons back row at the Madjeski Stadium just 24 hours after he was named in England’s 34-man training squad for next week’s pre-Six Nations training camp in Brighton.

Graham, who has represented Scotland at Under-20 level, has scored four tries in his ten senior appearances this season, having joined Falcons from Jersey in the summer.

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The 25-year-old, who is the son of former Scotland prop and Newcastle Tetley’s Bitter Cup winner George Graham, will take part in a two-day training camp on January 1-2, and is one of two uncapped players selected by England head coach Eddie Jones along with Bath prop Beno Obano.

“I’m pleased for Gary in receiving this call-up,” said Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards. “He has gone well for us in a back row which collectively has performed to a very high level, and hopefully we can see other members of that unit being called up in the near future.

“We have seen teams in worse positions than ourselves in the Premiership receiving significantly more call-ups, and the hope is that we can receive greater recognition for the efforts of our English-qualified players in future.”

Graham is part of a Falcons side that have won their last four games in all competitions, a run of form that has taken them to the brink of qualification for the knock-out stages of the European Challenge Cup as well as seventh position in the Aviva Premiership table.

Newcastle are fully 20 points clear of London Irish, who sit at the foot of the table, and are just seven points adrift of Saracens, who are currently in second position, but Richards insists it would be wrong to take tomorrow's game lightly.

London Irish might only have recorded one Premiership victory this season, but Richards is adamant it would be wrong to write them off, despite Falcons’ only away defeats this term having come at the hands of last season’s Premiership finalists, Exeter and Wasps.

“Sides down at the bottom are probably the most dangerous of all,” said Richards, who watched his side claim an 11-10 win over Harlequins last weekend. “They’re playing at home with nothing to lose and it’s a trap for us in some ways.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re switched on because they’re not a bad side, and they have some good players. Both of their wingers are very effective, they have flair in the midfield and a good back row, so we can’t take them lightly. They’ll be smarting from their defeat at Worcester and we know it will be a difficult game.

“We can’t afford to be drawn into a free-for-all because it could become a sevens-style game, and we have to impose our own pattern onto it. If we get caught up in how London Irish want to play we’ll come unstuck because they’re a good side, and it just takes somebody stepping out of the line to give them an opening to score.”

Richards has made two changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow’s game, with lock Sean Robinson and winger Alex Tait replacing injured duo Will Witty and Sinoti Sinoti.

Club captain Will Welch features on the replacements’ bench after completing his ‘return-to-play’ protocols, while Fijian international centre Josh Matavesi and Canadian lock Evan Olmstead are also promoted to the match-day squad.

“Winning down there would be an outstanding way to finish the year,” said Richards. “December has been a good month for us with four wins from four, and we’re looking forward to giving a good account of ourselves.”

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley, Tait, Harris, Socino, Goneva, Flood, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Robinson, M Wilson, Graham, Latu.

Replacements: Sowrey, Lockwood, S Wilson, Olmstead, Welch, Young, Hodgson, Matavesi.