Cumbrians Jamie Blamire and Gary Graham have been selected in Newcastle Falcons' starting line-up for their Championship Cup clash against Doncaster Knights.

Seaton-born Blamire, a former Workington Zebras player, continues at hooker after catching the eye last time out, while former Carlisle Rugby Club man Gary Graham also starts again after last Saturday's 21-8 victory at Jersey Reds.

Fellow Cumbrian Brett Connon, the brother of Carlisle players Grant and Max, is named among the replacements.

Elsewhere, director of rugby Dean Richards has handed a first start to centre George Wacokecoke who partners Ben Stevenson in midfield, with Toby Flood moving to fly-half in an otherwise unchanged backline, while Sean Robinson captains the side.

"Doncaster are a very organised team with a big physical presence in the pack and a good set of backs, so it won’t be an easy game," Richards told the Falcons' website.

"We were a little bit rusty last weekend with having had no warm-up games, and that showed over in Jersey to a degree. [But] we came through in the end.

"I thought the boys did quite well and we’re hoping to see some progression on Sunday."

"There were a lot of boys going stir crazy with such a long pre-season, and that probably manifested itself a little bit in the rustiness we showed at Jersey. The more we play, the more that will be erased, and we’ll get into the swing of things," Richards added, explaining his decision not to schedule any friendly matches despite the elongated pre-season.

"The Championship Cup games are good games, and it’s not as if we’re using them as pre-season. We don’t look at it that way – we just see it as throwing ourselves right in at the deep end.

"If you ask any of the players or any of the staff here, getting promoted back to the Premiership is our goal for the season.

"Yes, we want to win the cup because we want to win every game we play, but promotion is clearly the priority."