Falcons 45 Leicester Tigers 26

Saturday 07 January 2023 Written by: Adam

An opening 40 minutes to dream of saw Newcastle 28-5 up and with a bonus point already in the bag – Carreras running rampant in front of an enthralled Kingston Park crowd.

The hosts showed plenty of early energy and took a deserved lead on 14 minutes, a lineout on the right-hand side being worked left through the hands.

A lovely midfield pirouette and offload from Trevor Davison helped create the momentum, and soft handling from Tom Penny freed Mateo Carreras for a five-metre dash down the tramlines to score in the left corner.

Brett Connon added the conversion from wide out, and the Falcons’ cause looked to be aided when Leicester were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes as Freddie Steward saw yellow for an obstruction following Carreras’ kick in behind.

The Tigers withstood three close-range line-outs as Newcastle tried and failed to make the territory count, and were fortunate on 25 minutes when only the bounce of the ball prevented Carreras scoring his second from a chip-and-chase down the left.

His team doubled their lead from the next play when a five-metre scrum in the left corner was worked in-field, flanker Callum Chick scoring between the posts from a powerful pick and go.

Connon added the simple conversion from in front, but Leicester grabbed a foot-hold in the game on 32 minutes when England centurion Ben Youngs sniped in for an unconverted try in the left corner.

It proved only a temporary momentum swing as Carerras completed his hat-trick just before the break, racing 80 metres plus to wrap up the bonus point for his side.

There was still time for some late jeopardy with the last play of the half when Leicester were judged by the TMO to have knocked on in the act of scoring from the back of a close-range ruck, leaving Newcastle 28-5 up at the interval but a man lighter following the sin-binning of Greg Peterson.

The visitors were more clinical immediately after the break, using the extra man to good effect as England’s Ollie Chessum scored from a close-range burst down the right, Atkinson adding the conversion.

Connon added another three to the Falcons’ tally with a well-struck penalty from 30 metres out in front, and the impetus grew when Connon kicked a huge touchfinder to the left corner, Jamie Blamire scoring his side’s fifth try from the back of a rampaging maul.

The Tigers were reduced to 14 men for much of the closing 12 minutes when Tommy Reffell was sin-binned for a head-shot on Tom Penny, but it was they who grabbed the next score with ten minutes to go when former Falcon Jimmy Goopperth scored from a quick tap in the left corner.

Newcastle ended on a high, however, when ex-Tiger Moroni hit an incisive angle to race in for the Falcons’ sixth try, flinging the ball into the South Stand amid scenes of wild celebration.

Leicester had the consolation of a bonus point when Sean Jansen scored with the last play, but it could not dampen the party mood.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Tom Penny (captain), 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando (Tian Schoeman, 66), 11 Mateo Carreras (Elliott Obatoyinbo, 51), 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart (Michael Young, 61); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Logovi’i Mulipola, 56), 2 Jamie Blamire (Charlie Maddison, 68), 3 Trevor Davison (Richard Palframan, 64), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Gary Graham (Matthew Dalton, 64), 7 Callum Chick, 8 Carl Fearns (Tom Marshall, 47).

**Scorers -** Tries: Mateo Carreras 3, Callum Chick, Jamie Blamire, Matias Moroni. Conversions: Brett Connon 6. Penalties: Brett Connon.

**Leicester Tigers:** 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Harry Simmons (Jimmy Gopperth, 70, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Ben Youngs (Jack van Poortvliet, 52); 1 James Cronin, 2 Charlie Clare (Joe Taufete’e, 70), 3 Dan Cole (Joe Heyes, 52), 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green (Cameron Henderson, 47), 6 Ollie Chessum, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain).

**Scorers -** Tries: Ben Youngs, Ollie Chessum, Jimmy Gopperth, Sean Jansen. Conversions: Charlie Atkinson 4.

**Referee:** Tom Foley. **Attendance:** 6,122.