All but one of the side is qualified to represent England, with the exception being prop Taione Vea, who has represented Tonga.
The side also features the Premiership debut of openside-flanker Dan Temm, who has featured heavily for the Falcons' European cup sides and local side Tynedale RFC.
Scrum coach and Blaydon RFC Director of Rugby Micky Ward said:
Spirits are pretty high in the camp but the job isn’t finished yet.
We are not mathematically safe but we are in a far better position than London Irish, and a far better position than we were a couple of weeks ago. We are nearly over the line and it is down to us now. It is in our own hands, we can decide it this weekend by taking points at Saracens and putting it beyond all doubt.
Mental strength is something we talk about a lot here. It is not just the physical side, it is sticking to our systems under pressure, doing the things we talk about during the week and making sure we put into place the plans we have laid. We did a lot of that against London Irish, we knew where they would attack us and we did a pretty decent job of coping with that in difficult conditions.
- 1 Rob Vickers
- 2 George McGuigan
- 3 Taione Vea
- 4 Mouritz Botha
- 5 Sean Robinson
- 6 Will Welch (captain)
- 7 Dan Temm
- 8 Mark Wilson
- 15 Simon Hammersley
- 14 Alex Tait
- 13 Chris Harris
- 12 Adam Powell
- 11 Marcus Watson
- 10 Craig Willis
- 9 Michael Young
- 16 Rob Hawkins
- 17 Alex Rogers
- 18 Andrew Foster
- 19 Calum Green
- 20 Richard Mayhew
- 21 Ruki Tipuna
- 22 Tom Catterick
- 23 Tom Penny
Christopher Parkinson from Sunderland stole £14,000 in cash from his grandfather's home, before blowing it all in under three weeks.Read the full story ›
Police are appealing for information after a man tried to touch and kiss a woman on a bus between Newcastle and South Tyneside.
It happened at around 8:40pm on Monday, February 15.
A man on the X34 bus touched the woman inappropriately on the leg and tried to kiss her.
The man got on the bus at the Gateshead interchange and got off on Galsworthy Road in South Shields at around 8.55pm.
He is described as:
- Being white
- Around 6ft tall
- In his early 30s
- Of slim build.
- He has short brown hair, a sunken face and stubble
- His top front two teeth were crooked and he spoke with a local accent
- He was wearing a black raincoat, blue jeans and trainers
A woman who was travelling on the bus at the time of the incident spoke to the victim and checked she was ok.
We would like to trace and speak to this woman as she may be able to help us identify and locate the offender.
She is also asked to contact 101.
North East based bakers Greggs have launched a visual 'brain teaser'.
So - have you spotted the cheese and onion bake in and amongst a sea of steak bakes?!
Riders will burn an average of 13,222 calories over the three stages, which equates to 169.5 Yorkshire puddings.Read the full story ›
A rather cloudy day with further locally heavy rain or showers for most, with some hill snow likely.
Feeling cold in the north to northeast wind, clearing overnight.
Maximum Temperature 8 °C.
There is a yellow weather warning in place for parts of Northumberland.
It has been issued by the Met Office.
See the warning here
More than a millon people are expected to line the route of this year's Tour de Yorkshire between tomorrow and Sunday (April 29- May 1).
Pictures from the race in our region will be seen in 150 countries.
Stage one tomorrow makes its way into North Yorkshire, where the riders are expected in Knaresborough at around 2.20pm and the finish is in Settle at around 4.30pm.
And Stage 3 on Sunday starts in Middlesbrough at 11.30am passing through Grosmont at 2.45pm on the way to Scarborough at 4.30pm.
If you're not out on the road supporting the riders, you can see it all on ITV 4. Ned Boulting will be one of the commentators, we asked him to ride Sunday's stage for us:
There is more snow to come in the forecast for the Tyne Tees region.Read the full story ›