NEWCASTLE FALCONS head coach Dave Walder says the pressure is on Bristol Bears to entertain a bumper home crowd on Sunday as Newcastle Falcons head to Ashton Gate determined to crash their opponents’ Premiership party.

Falcons have won two of their last three in the league and, while they remain at the foot of the Premiership table, they took a bonus point from their last outing against third-placed Gloucester.

They have lost just one of their last six games against Bristol – a dead rubber in the Championship during Newcastle’s promotion season – and Walder is hoping to inflict more misery this weekend.

“The onus is on them with it being a home match, they’re the ones who have to entertain and we’re just there to win a game,” said Walder, the former England fly-half who was a Premiership and Heineken Cup winner during his playing career. “If we play in the right areas, put pressure on their skills and force turnovers in the right zones, I believe we can cause them a lot of problems.

“It’ll be a near full house down there on Sunday, the place will be bouncing and the nature of the way Bristol play the game means it should be an exciting one. Eyebrows were raised at how much money Bristol spent in the Championship last season, but it’s great from a rugby point of view to have such a competitive team coming into the Premiership.”

Captain Will Welch makes a welcome return from injury on Sunday, having missed almost three months after injuring his ankle at Sale Sharks in early October.

Welch returns to a Falcons side showing six changes from the Gloucester game, with Callum Chick also returning to the back row.

Sami Mavinga comes in at loose-head prop in a front-row which also sees George McGuigan drafted in at hooker, while the two additions to Newcastle’s back line are scrum-half Michael Young and winger Adam Radwan.

Newcastle Falcons (vs Bristol): Hammersley, Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Radwan, Flood, Young; Mavinga, McGuigan, Mulipola, Green, Cavubati, Welch, Hardie, Chick.

Replacements: Cooper, Brocklebank, D Wilson, Davidson, Graham, Takulua, Connon, Arscott.