Newcastle Falcons welcome back a host of fit-again stars for Saturday's European Challenge Cup trip to Spanish side Cetransa El Salvador.
The Falcons travel to Valladolid to take on the Spanish champions buoyed by the return of captain Phil Dowson, as well as England centre Jamie Noon and flanker Ben Woods in a side showing nine changes from that which beat Newport Gwent Dragons in last Saturday's EDF Energy Cup clash.
Saturday promises to be a big day for the Tait family as brothers Mathew and Alex start together in Falcons colours for the first time ever - England Under-19s star Alex coming in for the rested Tom May at fullback while World Cup star Mathew continues his club comeback at outside centre.
Fellow midfield man Noon returns to action after suffering medial knee ligament damage in England's World Cup group encounter with South Africa, with Steve Jones shifting one place to fly half as Toby Flood recovers from an operation to fix a minor tear to his scrotum suffered last weekend against the Dragons. Dutchman Tim Visser comes in for John Rudd on the left wing, while at scrum half James Grindal takes the place of Lee Dickson.
There are five changes to the pack, meanwhile, as Newcastle aim to get their European campaign off on a winning note.
A whole new front row sees Jon Golding, Andy Long and Micky Ward take over from Joe McDonnell, Matt Thompson and David Wilson. In the back row fit-again captain Dowson starts in place of the rested Russell Winter, while Geoff Parling also takes a breather as Ben Woods starts at openside after recovering from a broken hand as Brent Wilson switches to blindside flanker.
While the odds may be heavily stacked in favour of an away victory, Falcons director of rugby John Fletcher is taking nothing for granted, insisting: "On paper you can say this should probably be our easiest game of the season, but this team are no mugs and they will be playing for the whole of Spanish rugby when they meet us on Saturday.
"They gave Harlequins a hell of a scare a couple of years ago, losing by just over one score, and they will be playing with a lot of passion on what is a huge occasion for them in front of their own crowd."
Explaining his team selection, Fletcher said: "We are taking the game very seriously and have chosen what we believe is a strong side. You have to respect the opposition, and I think our team selection for this weekend reflects the respect we have for Cetransa El Salvador.
"We have huge competition for places now, everyone is aware of that, and Brive at home next Thursday will be a huge game for us so we have taken the opportunity to rest one or two guys who have played every game for us so far this season. Those who have come in this week are now playing for their places, and that is a healthy position to be in as a coach having such quality at your disposal.
"Everyone has to earn the right to wear the Falcons first team shirt though, it's not something I dish out cheaply, and I think all 22 players involved this weekend have earned that right.
"We haven't made wholesale change, we have selected our international players and not really experimented in too many areas. I am keen to see Alex Tait operate from the start at fullback, but apart from that one selection we pretty much know what we're getting."
Looking to what is the opening game of his side's European Challenge Cup campaign, Fletcher added: "The strategy is based on a low error count with lots of team involvement. As always the first aim is to win the game, and to win well. If we perform well then the points should take care of themselves.
"The seedings for this tournament are based on tries, so that is something we obviously have an eye on and we are going to Spain to score as many tries as possible."
Turning attention to his Spanish opponents, Fletcher said: "The reports we have had are that Cetransa El Salvador is a good club with excellent facilities, and they play rugby for the right reasons.
"Sadly our boys won't get to sample the night life too much after the game because we have a match on Thursday against Brive and a very short turnaround, but we will buy in to the spirit of the occasion after the match and look forward to receiving a warm welcome. Obviously if I go to the night club myself it's just to make sure none of the players are in there!"
Asked if the presence of a Spanish team reduces any credibility from the European competition, he insisted: "I don't think it devalues it at all.
"We saw in the Rugby World Cup with the so-called smaller nations giving a fantastic account of themselves, and in the case of Georgia being massively unlucky not to beat one of the Six Nations superpowers when they played Ireland.
"There is a duty upon the traditional rugby countries to help the game spread at club level as well as internationals, and while it won't happen overnight I think we have already seen a huge improvement.
"We had our academy manager, Richard Metcalf, at the FIRA European Under-19s Championship in Belgium last week watching some players as well as helping the Dutch national team, and the reports we had back were that there was a lot of talent coming through from these countries."