Falcons 19 London Irish 34

Sunday 05 March 2023 Written by: Adam

The Exiles led 19-14 at half-time and seized the early initiative, scoring after just three minutes when former Falcons flanker Josh Basham crossed in the right corner from a wrap-around play as the visitors worked the ball from a line-out on the 22.

Paddy Jackson converted from the right touchline, and he doubled his side’s lead on 18 minutes with a simple conversion from in front after Tom Pearson had scored their second try from a close-range pick and go.

Newcastle were struggling to get out of their own half, and the pressure continued to tell when a penalty was kicked to the left corner for prop Danilo Fischetti to score from another close-range maul.

The home side finally enjoyed some territory on the half-hour, and made it count almost instantly when a ruck in the left corner saw Northern Irish back-rower Matthew Dalton ploughing over the try-line.

Brett Connon added the conversion, and a resurgent Falcons reduced the half-time arrears to just five points when goal-line pressure and a string of red-zone penalties saw Jamie Blamire scoring from a quick tap – Connon again chipping over the conversion.

That left his team trailing 19-14 at the interval, but they were level pegging just nine minutes after the resumption when more sustained pressure and a number of close-range penalties saw Carl Fearns driven over from a line-out in the left corner.

The visitors responded rapidly by kicking a line-out to the right corner and seeing hooker Matt Cornish score from a set move off the back of the line-out, registering the four-try bonus-point in the process.

Ollie Hassell-Collins extended that advantage by another five on the hour mark when the England winger accepted a scoring pass from Tom Pearson down the left-hand side – Jackson’s touchline conversion attempt bouncing back off the left post.

Newcastle still had a pair of bonus points to play for going into the last five minutes, but a late Jackson penalty removed any doubt.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando (Pete Lucock, 68), 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon (Tian Schoeman, 64), 9 Michael Young (captain, Sam Stuart, 70); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Logovi’i Mulipola, 59), 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 64), 4 Matthew Dalton (Tom Marshall, 68), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 7 Callum Chick, 8 Carl Fearns (Freddie Lockwood, 57).

**Scorers –** Tries: Matthew Dalton, Jamie Blamire, Carl Fearns. Conversions: Brett Connon 2.

**London Irish:** 15 Ben Loader, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White; 1 Danilo Fischetti (Facundo Gigena, 65), 2 Agustin Creevy (Matt Cornish, 42), 3 Oliver Hoskins (Lovejoy Chawatama, 65), 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 6 Josh Basham, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Chandler Cunningham-South (Matt Rogerson, 68).

**Scorers –** Tries: Josh Basham, Tom Pearson, Danilo Fischetti, Matt Cornish, Ollie Hassell-Collins. Conversions: Paddy Jackson 3. Penalties: Paddy Jackson.

**Referee:** Christophe Ridley. **Attendance:** 8,682.