Falcons A 26 Wasps A 51

Monday 10 April 2017 Written by: Adam

A fired-up Falcons side knew that only a victory would send them through to the last four, and got themselves off to the ideal start on four minutes when Belisario Agulla’s interception and kick ahead created a try for Zach Kibirige, the winger capitalising on a Wasps player fumbling the ball inside his own 22.

Craig Willis added the simple conversion from in front, his side showing plenty of enterprise as Tongan pair Opeti Fonua and Nili Latu made their physical presence felt.

Newcastle withstood a lineout in their own 22 with a show of solid defence, but conceded their first points of the night on 18 minutes when fly-half Connor Eastgate chipped over a simple penalty from in front.

Eastgate repeated the trick from double the distance five minutes later to chop the deficit to just one, Newcastle kicking a penalty to the corner in response but failing to convert the attacking line-out.

The visitors assumed the lead for the first time on 35 minutes when lock Will Rowlands broke from the 22 to score down the right, scrum-half Craig Hampson adding the extras with half-back partner Eastgate having received treatment during a lengthy injury stoppage.

There was no further score before the break despite Newcastle kicking another penalty to the corner, the home side trailing 13-7 at the half-way stage.

The Falcons flew out of the blocks for the second half and regained the lead after less than a minute, Sam Egerton darting 60 metres up the left touchline for a well-taken score, converted from the left touchline by Willis.

Adam Radwan quickly followed it up with his side’s third try after some neat footwork down the right, Wasps regaining the lead on 50 minutes when a five-metre scrum saw the ball worked infield for Frank Halai to score a converted try.

His side capitalised on their momentum through two tries in as many minutes by centre Brendan Macken in a spell which turned the whole shape of the tie, the first on a supporting line from a line-break by Hampson and the second a hard line from a close-range ruck.

Halai crossed for his second try from a looped pass to the left corner, quickly followed by another try from replacement scrum-half Will Porter as Wasps piled on the points.

Newcastle enjoyed a late flurry of possession and territory as both sides emptied their benches, Northumbria University’s George Wacokecoke crossing for the bonus point consolation before Wasps passed the half-century through Owain James’ try.

**Newcastle Falcons A:** 15 Dan Marshall, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Belisario Agulla, 12 Fred Burdon (captain), 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Sam Egerton; 1 Ben Harris, 2 Ben Sowrey, 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Will Witty, 5 Harrison Orr, 6 Nili Latu, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 10 Opeti Fonua.

**Replacements:** 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Glen Young, 20 Max Davies, 21 Ruaridh Dawson, 22 Brett Connon, 23 George Wacokecoke.

**Falcons scorers -** Tries: Zach Kibirige, Sam Egerton, Adam Radwan, George Wacokecoke. Conversions: Craig Willis 2, Brett Connon.

**Wasps A:** 15 Piers O’Conor, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Guy Armitage, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Connor Eastgate, 9 Craig Hampson (captain); 1 Tom West, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 3 Tom Heard, 4 Marcus Garratt, 5 Will Rowlands, 6 Jack Willis, 7 Sam Harry, 8 Alex Rieder.

**Replacements:** 16 Luke Cole, 17 Harry Morley, 18 David Langley, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 James Seabrook, 21 Will Porter, 22 Owain James , 23 Nick De Luca.

**Wasps scorers -** Tries: Will Rowlands, Frank Halai 2, Brendan Macken 2, Will Porter, Owain James. Conversions: Craig Hampson 4, Brendan Macken. Penalties: Connor Eastgate 2.

**Referee:** Steve Lee.