GARY GRAHAM and Tom Penny return as Newcastle Falcons look to return to winnings ways when they host Gloucester at Kingston Park tomorrow afternoon.

Graham scored two tries in Falcons’ opening-day win over Bath and also featured prominently in wins over Wasps and Sale, was forced to sit out last weekend’s defeat to Bristol through injury.

Penny also missed the Bristol game, but the pair will return today as part of a Falcons side that sees Toby Flood move across to join Matias Orlando in the centres, with Brenn Connon returning at fly-half.

Orlando made his debut in last weekend’s loss at Bristol, and while Falcons still performed creditably as they lost their unbeaten record, their head coach, Dean Richards, is delighted to see his players striving for more than a pat on the back despite only returning to the Premiership in the summer.

“I’ve had people during the week telling us we played well, but we set high standards here, and if you’d been in that changing room after the game you’d have seen a group of really disappointed players,” said Richards.

“They don’t think they played well, because playing well means being accurate and finishing those chances. We lacked nothing in enthusiasm and we threw plenty of effort at it, but enthusiasm without that clinical edge will only get you so far against teams as good as Bristol.”

Falcons added a ‘new’ signing this week, with prop Jon Welsh signing up for a second spell at Kingston Park.

“We’ve had injuries in the front row,” said Richards. “ Rodney Ah You is unfortunately going to be out for a long time and we just needed that bit of strength in depth.

“Jon hasn’t moved away from the area even though he spent a couple of months with Bath during the Premiership’s summer restart, and it’s a perfect fit. He’s a real character, it’s great to have him back and he has just slotted straight in.”

Tomorrow’s game pits Falcons against a Gloucester side that surprisingly find themselves at the foot of the table, but Richards feels the cherry-and-whites are in a false position.

“It’s amazing that Gloucester haven’t started well when you look at their team on paper, and there’s no doubting the fact they pose a threat,” he said. “They should have won last weekend against Sale Sharks, they’ll be disappointed by that and absolutely nobody will take them lightly.

“The thing for us is more just about looking at our own performance after last weekend, and trying to address our own issues rather than worrying too much about the opposition.

“It’s going to be freezing cold, there’s been a bit of snow in the build-up and we’ll have to see what the weather throws up. That sometimes dictates what you are able to do, but hopefully we’ll see a good game of rugby.”