Match Report

Connacht - 0

Newcastle Falcons - 11

Saturday 10th Dec 2022

Connacht led 14-8 at half-time and enjoyed the first meaningful attack, making it count on three minutes when No.8 Paul Boyle scored from a close-range pick-and-go between the uprights.

Fly-half David Hawkshaw added the simple conversion, Newcastle going close on ten minutes when a back peel at a line-out in the left corner saw Tom Penny cutting against the grain and almost dotting down.

The hosts looked to double their lead on 13 minutes when they kicked a penalty to the right corner only to cough up possession in back play, setting in motion an end-to-end passage of play as Adam Radwan raced away and earned prime field position for the Falcons.

They could not make it count as they kicked a penalty to the corner without return, Connacht disrupting the Newcastle maul from a close-range set-piece. But at the second time of asking they at least earned three points when Tian Schoeman kicked a penalty from left of centre on 17 minutes.

The visitors assumed the lead for the first time six minutes later when Nathan Earle scored an unconverted try in the right corner – Schoeman’s cross-field kick taken brilliantly by Radwan, who dextrously offloaded for his wing colleague to dot down.

It was Connacht who stole the half-time lead, however, when winger Adam Byrne broke away two minutes before the interval – Hawkshaw’s simple conversion putting the Irishmen 14-8 up.

The Falcons began the second half with a spring in their step, winning an early penalty on halfway and crafting an opportunity for Schoeman to attempt a drop-goal – the hosts managing to charge him down from 25 metres out in front.

Connacht, too, missed an opportunity for second-half points when Hawkshaw’s long-range penalty had the distance but not the accuracy, but the fly-half made amends just before the hour mark with a simple three from in front of the posts to make it a two-score game.

The attritional fayre served up by both sides yielded little in the way of clear-cut scoring chances, but there was no quarter given in a fascinating tactical contest as both sets of players threw every ounce of physical effort into the contest.

Any lingering doubt over the result was removed three minutes from time when winger Diarmuid Kilgallen leaped impressively in the left corner to score from a cross-field kick, giving his side a lead which was too far to bridge.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan (Ewan Greenlaw, 71), 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Tom Penny (captain), 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Tian Schoeman (Josh Thomas, 58), 9 Sam Stuart (Josh Barton, 65); 1 Conrad Cade (Adam Brocklebank, 52), 2 Jamie Blamire (Charlie Maddison, 52), 3 Mark Tampin (Richard Palframan, 58), 4 Greg Peterson (Josh Peters, 52), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Matthew Dalton, 7 Tom Marshall, 8 Callum Chick (Marcus Tiffen, 63).

**Scorers -** Tries: Nathan Earle. Penalties: Tian Schoeman.

**Connacht:** 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Tom Daly (Conor Fitzgerald, 63), 12 Cathal Forde (Tom Farrell, 63), 11 Diarmuid Kilgallen, 10 David Hawkshaw, 9 Caolin Blade (Colm Reilly, 68); 1 Peter Dooley (Denis Buckley, 58), 2 Dylan Tierney-Martin (Shane Delahunt, 58), 3 Jack Aungier (Sam Illo, 58), 4 Josh Murphy (Leva Fifita, 40), 5 Niall Murray, 6 Jarrad Butler (captain), 7 Shamus Hurley-Langton (Oisin McCormack, 63), 8 Paul Boyle.

**Scorers -** Tries: Paul Boyle, Adam Byrne, Diarmuid Kilgallen. Conversions: David Hawkshaw 2. Penalties: David Hawkshaw.

**Referee:** Luc Ramos (France). **Attendance:** 3,129.