Match Report

Cardiff - 0

Newcastle Falcons - 10

Sunday 15th Jan 2023

The Falcons played more than half the game with 14 men following the red card picked up by full-back Elliott Obatoyinbo, but refused to throw in the towel against a Cardiff side laden with international talent.

The home side led 28-3 at half-time and surged ahead inside two minutes when simple hands along the line enabled Owen Lane to score in the right corner, Rhys Priestland adding an impressive touchline conversion.

They doubled their advantage just a couple of moments later when scrum-half Lloyd Williams sniped between the posts from a close-range ruck, but the Falcons responded and got off the mark with a 30-metre penalty from fly-half Tian Schoeman.

The men in green were growing into the game, spotting space in the back-field which Schoeman and Ben Stevenson both attempted to exploit with kicks in behind. The returning Pete Lucock carried hard in midfield, with Tom Marshall and Carl Fearns among the visiting forwards looking to play an offloading game.

It was therefore a bitter blow when a period of sustained Falcons attack ended in a third Cardiff try – Lane racing 80 metres on the intercept after clawing in a midfield pass from the visitors.

Priestland’s conversion left them 18 points to the good, the visitors refusing to lie down and enjoying an enterprising period of attack which included a couple of outside breaks from Radwan and a chip ahead from Stevenson.

Cardiff were temporarily reduced to 14 men when home hooker Kirby Myhill was sin-binned for a third infringement inside his own 22, but Newcastle were forced to play a man down for the entire second half when Obatoyinbo was red-carded for a high tackle.

Cardiff took immediate advantage when Wales prop Rhys Carre scored on a crash-ball line from a tap penalty in front of the posts – Priestland’s conversion giving his side a 28-3 interval lead.

A scrappy start to the second half saw handling errors from both sets of players, but it was Cardiff who conjured the first points 15 minutes in when Wales and Lions star Josh Adams hit a straightening line to score between the posts.

Argentina international Pedro Rubiolo and on-loan hooker Alun Walker both came on to make their Falcons debuts during the closing half-hour, while there was a welcome return from long-term injury for back-five forward Philip van der Walt.

Walker popped up with the try on the hour mark which took his side into double figures, with repeated red-zone penalties seeing the Scottish hooker ploughing over from a close-range ruck.

Schoeman added the conversion, and despite his side offering plenty in attack it was Cardiff who had the final say when Harri Millard broke away down the left for the home team’s sixth converted try.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Pete Lucock (Iwan Stephens, 60), 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Tian Schoeman (Josh Thomas, 67), 9 Sam Stuart (Michael Young, 50); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Logovi’i Mulipola, 55), 2 Charlie Maddison (Alun Walker, 55), 3 Richard Palframan (Mark Tampin, 55), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Josh Peters (Philip van der Walt, 50), 6 Gary Graham (captain), 7 Tom Marshall, 8 Carl Fearns (Pedro Rubiolo, 50).

**Scorers –** Tries: Alun Walker. Conversions: Tian Schoeman. Penalties: Tian Schoeman.

**Cardiff Rugby:** 15 Josh Adams (Jarrod Evans, 55), 14 Owen Lane, 13 Mason Grady, 12 Ben Thomas, 11 Jason Harries (Harri Millard, 48), 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Lloyd Williams; 1 Corey Domachowski (Rhys Carre, 34), 2 Kirby Myhill, 3 Kieron Assiratti (Will Davies-King, 14) 4 Seb Davies, 5 Teddy Williams, 6 Josh Turnbull (captain), 7 Ellis Jenkins, 8 Taulupe Faletau.

**Scorers -** Tries: Owen Lane 2, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Carre, Josh Adams, Harri Millard. Conversions: Rhys Priestland 6.

**Referee:** Vivien Praderie (France). **Attendance:** 5,464.