Hugh Vyvyan, who skippered Newcastle to the Powergen Cup last season, has been promised a bruising reception when he returns to Kingston Park as captain of Saracens in the Zurich Premiership today.
The 28-year-old back-row forward joined the north London club during the summer after making 110 Premiership appearances for the Falcons. "Everyone is looking forward to seeing Hugh again, and hopefully I can get the chance to tackle him," said the Tongan Epi Taione, who forms a makeshift centre pairing with the former Australian international Matt Burke for Newcastle due to injuries to Mark Mayerhofler, Jamie Noon, Tom May and Joe Shaw. "He'll have a massive welcome from the fans because he was loved up here, and we'll have a drink afterwards, but the result is the most important thing and we won't lose sight of that."
The England captain, Jonny Wilkinson, has been cleared to start at fly-half even though a badly bruised arm ruled him out of any contact training last week, either with England or Newcastle. "He's probably stuttered a bit in recent weeks because the team collectively has," said Falcons' director of rugby, Rob Andrew, referring to recent defeats by Wasps and Gloucester. "He's fit and, as for his form, I think he's going really well. Physically, he's fine and his goal-kicking has been great as always." Meanwhile, Saracens, who have moved Thomas Castaignède to full-back in place of the injured Dan Scarbrough, ended a run of three defeats with a resounding win over North-ampton last weekend.
In the Powergen Cup third round, former winners Coventry, Moseley and Bedford all progressed, at the expense of Stourbridge, Henley and Tabard. Exeter ran in 11 tries as they humiliated London Welsh 67-19 at Old Deer Park while Rotherham, late of the Premiership, lost 17-16 at home to Plymouth Albion.
Edinburgh rattled up five converted tries to thwart Connacht's hopes of climbing to third in the Celtic League table with a 35-24 upset in Galway.Reuse content