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Team news: Kings of the North

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Full-back Mathew Tait will lead Leicester Tigers against former club Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday evening (7.45pm).Tait captains a team which includes fellow internationals Peter Betham, Seremaia Bai, Freddie Burns and Tom Croft.   Harry Thacker starts at hooker after a try-scoring performance from the bench against the Falcons at Welford Road last Saturday. Mike Williams, who also scored in a 36-19 victory in the second game of the Kings of the North tournament, joins Croft and summer signing Lachlan McCaffrey in the back row.   Jack Roberts is included in the matchday squad for the first time in the pre-season programme as Tigers travel with 28 players.   Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “We’re still looking at combinations and the balance in the team, and the extended squad gives us a chance to look at some of the younger players again while managing the time the senior guys have on the field in the build-up to the start of the league season.   “Newcastle played well at Welford Road on Saturday, but we did some good things too and we just need to make sure we’re a bit sharper again this weekend.”   Tickets for Friday’s game are still available from the Kingston Park box office.   Tigers’ final game in the Kings of the North is against Sale Sharks at Welford Road on Saturday, October 10. Kick-off is at 3pm and tickets are available now. Call in at the ticket office, phone 0116 319 8888 or book online.   Leicester Tigers (Newcastle Falcons, away, Friday 7.45pm) 15 Mathew Tait (c) 14 Adam Thompstone 13 Peter Betham 12 Seremaia Bai 11 George Catchpole 10 Freddie Burns 9 Sam Harrison 1 Riccardo Brugnara 2 Harry Thacker 3 Fraser Balmain 4 Mike Fitzgerald 5 Sebastian De Chaves 6 Mike Williams 7 Tom Croft 8 Lachlan McCaffrey             Replacements 16 Jake Farnworth 17 Greg Bateman 18 Tiziano Pasquali 19 Joe Maksymiw 20 Laurence Pearce 21 Ben White 22 Jack Roberts 23 Tommy Bell Will Evans Christian Loamanu George Tresidder George Worth Paolo Odogwu   Newcastle Falcons give debutants to former Saracens and England lock Mouritz Botha, USA back-rower Todd Clever and England Sevens cap Marcus Watson.   Botha, Clever, Scotland internationals Scott MacLeod and Scott Lawson, club captain Will Welch and prop Bobby Vickers provide the experience up front, while Jason Tali is given a starting place at centre after an impressive outing from the bench at Welford Road.   Newcastle Falcons: 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Dan Marshall, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Jason Tali, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Ruki Tipuna; 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Mouritz Botha, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Todd Clever. Replacements: G McGuigan, A Rogers, B Harris, A Foster, C Green, D Temm, C Chick, R Dawson, B Connon, C Harris, T Penny, E Coulson