Newcastle Falcons turned on the style during Saturday’s Festival of Rugby as the rejuvenated North East outfit swept aside Doncaster Knights and Leeds Carnegie either side of Consett Rugby’s duel with touring side Illinois Tornados.
In the first of a triple header the Falcons piled on the points against Doncaster to lead 38-3 at the break thanks to tries from Jimmy Gopperth (2), Taiasina Tuifua, Alex Crockett, Will Welch and Alex Tait. After the interval Italian international Carlo Del Fava and Tom Catterick added gloss to the score-line with respective touchdowns to earn the northeasterners a 52-17 triumph.
It was then the turn of Consett Rugby’s academy to grace Kingston Park as they took on American side Illinois in a thrilling encounter which finished 36-19 to the visitors.
Played in good spirit, fans lapped up the entertaining rugby on show which provided a fitting curtain raiser to the Falcons versus Leeds clash in the evening.
After surging into a 14-0 lead within the first 10 minutes courtesy of Rob Vickers and Ally Hogg tries, the Yorkshireman to their credit crossed the whitewash twice in quick succession to reduce the arrears to 14-12.
However, six minutes from half-time Kiwi Ryan Shortland took a looping pass from Chris Pilgrim to squeeze in at the corner to increase his side’s advantage to 19-12.
In the second stanza the Falcons went on the rampage with scores from Suka Hufanga, Andrew Higgins, Shortland and Hogg as well as the award of a penalty try.
The pick of the tries was from new signing Higgins as he rounded off a free-flowing move which was ignited by a Luke Fielden line-break.
Scott Freer touched down for the visitors four minutes from time but Shortland rubber-stamped victory scooting in to earn the Falcons a morale-boosting 52-19 triumph.
Head coach Peter Russell said: “It was a pretty good effort by the boys to win in that fashion and it will certainly be a couple of levels up when we take on Edinburgh next week.
“We have got a few more boys to come into the squad and there are a few boys who could not make it today through injury, so there is good competition for places.
“The main thing for us is that our patterns that we were trying to play were quite productive and we got some really good gain lines from that.
“We will have to improve our concentration as it was the lack of that which cost us the points we conceded in both of the games.
“All in all we cannot moan about the performances and we have to continue to work on the structures.”
The Falcons host Edinburgh next Friday under the lights of Kingston Park with tickets still available by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060 or click here to purchase online.