SUNDERLAND will look to build on last weeks positive result over Novos and gain revenge for a surprise defeat earlier in the season when they entertain Ponteland on Saturday.
Sunderland will hope to repeat their first half performance against Novos, where their pack were dominant, allowing their backs time and space to create chances.
Skipper Martin Watt will be determined that his side do not get carried away, though, and will want to avoid the lapses in concentration that allowed Novos back into the game to take two bonus points.
After a bright start to the season, which included victory over Sunderland, league newcomers Ponteland have struggled and are currently on a six-game losing streak that the Ashbrooke will not want to allow them to break.
Selection-wise, Sunderland are more or less at full strength, with Greg Littlewood returning from injury at full back.
Ian Dobson should recover from a knock to the knee against Novos to edge out David Bains for the 10 shirt.
Bains will take his place on the bench, with the rest of the side remaining unchanged from that which started last week.
The big news in second and third team selection is the blooding of a number of exciting youngsters from the club’s junior ranks, who get to make their debut in senior rugby.
Elliot Lewandowski, Dom Watson and Callum Meechan will bolster the backline in the second team squad, while Terry Hailey, Chris Turner, Ben Gallimore, Danny Hinder and James Collins are all part of the third team squad.
The crop of youngsters coming through shows the hard work and effort put in by so many in the mini and junior section of the club is finally bearing fruit.
Colts head coach Clive Fish was rightly proud that so many of his team are ready to take the step up to senior rugby.
“These lads have put in a lot of hard work and rightly deserve their chance to show what they can do with the senior teams,” he said.
“Hopefully, this is the first group of many who will come through and, hopefully, some of those lads will be in a position to push for places in the first team in the next couple of years – if not sooner”
SUNDERLAND Under-11s return to action in what will be another physical encounter against Westoe on Sunday.
Last season’s fixture at Ashbrooke ended early, with the visiting team from South Shields unable to continue after a string of brilliant Sunderland tackles had caused early retirement, with Westoe winning by nine tries to eight.
Sunderland’s coaching team hope for consistent form in the second half of a stop-start season, with new prop Nathan Hudak cementing his place alongside fellow forwards Adam Hill, Patrick Wilkinson and Cris Vosa.
Jake Bewick will look to give the players outside him – including Reece Robinson, back after a severe illness, Kyle Elliott and Olivia Rowe – chances to shine by releasing the ball early from scrums and line-outs.
Players should meet at Westoe’s Dean Road ground at 9.40am prompt.