Newcastle have named their team for Friday night’s European Challenge Cup match in Biarritz after French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced the lifting of travel restrictions, which will take effect from the morning of the match.
With four British clubs playing against French teams this weekend, there has been concern over the stipulation that traveling teams would have to undergo a 48-hour pre-match quarantine and undergo a round of PCR testing in France where a positive result could result. in players/staff who have to spend ten days in the sun instead of being allowed to go home.
However, the latest developments will allow travelers from the UK who have been fully vaccinated to enter France if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test within 24 hours of departure, while removing the requirement to self-isolate on arrival.
This has given the green light for Bath, Sale, Scarlets and Newcastle to travel to La Rochelle, Clermont, Bordeaux and Biarritz for their respective Champions and Challenge Cup matches, but official confirmation is still awaited by tournament organizers EPCR.
It puts an end to a week of confusion that threatened to further damage the credibility of European tournaments, which suffered from a large number of canceled matches last month. Newcastle, the first of the British quartet to fly in France, are set to fly on Friday morning and they have now gone ahead with announcing their team as planned.
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Former England fullback Mike Brown will captain a squad that shows 11 changes from the squad that started last Saturday in the Gallagher Premiership defeat at home to Northampton, with Pete Lucock and George Wacokecoke in the centers and Adam Radwan returning on the wing.
As the Falcons look for their fifth consecutive away win in the Challenge Cup group action, Brett Connon and Sam Stuart form the half-back partnership. Adam Brocklebank and Mark Tampin Jamie join Blamire in a refreshed front row, with Rob Farrar closing in for a back row where Gary Graham, Connor Collett and Callum Chick are called up.
Prop Conrad Cade will make his first-team debut when he comes off the bench, with the loosehead having spent much of this season at Championship side Doncaster Knights.
NEWCASTLE (vs Biarritz, Friday)
15. Mike Brown (Captain); 14. Adam Radwan, 13. George Wacokecoke, 12. Pete Lucock, 11. Nathan Earle; 10. Brett Connon, 9. Sam Stuart; 1. Adam Brocklebank, 2. Jamie Blamire, 3. Mark Tampin, 4. Greg Peterson, 5. Rob Farrar, 6. Gary Graham, 7. Connor Collett, 8. Callum Chick. Reps: 16. George McGuigan, 17. Conrad Cade, 18. Logovi’i Mulipola, 19. Will Montgomery, 20. Josh Basham, 21. Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22. Will Haydon-Wood, 23. Luther Burrell.
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