Match Report

Newcastle Falcons - 14

Sale Sharks - 35

Sunday 28th Apr 2024 | KO 15:00 | Kingston Park

There was no shortage of grit but Newcastle Falcons’ wait for a first win of the Gallagher Premiership continues after they missed out in Sunday’s visit of Sale Sharks.

The Falcons had trailed 14-7 at half-time in front of their biggest Kingston Park crowd in five and a half years, with 8,361 in attendance for the league’s northern derby.

A cagey start saw plenty of boot-on-ball with neither team wanting to be caught in possession in their own half – Newcastle winning a penalty on halfway but failing to turn the field position into points from a line-out down the left.

Patient and disciplined defence from the men in black repelled a wave of Sale pressure around the ten-minute mark as the frustrated visitors eventually knocked on, but Newcastle missed out on points of their own when a pair of red-zone penalties passes by without troubling the scorers.

It did not dampen the Falcons’ enthusiasm as Adam Radwan’s chip-and-chase down the right drew another barrage of close-range penalties, but the 14-men Sharks held on as the home side could not find a way over the try-line.

Sale finally broke the deadlock on 26 minutes when captain Ben Curry broke away from the back of a maul in the right corner, with England fly-half George Ford stroking over the conversion from just inside the touchline.

The Sharks added a second on the half-hour when full-back Joe Carpenter supported Manu Tuilagi’s line-break to dot down between the posts – Ford again adding the extras.

Newcastle responded swiftly and halved the deficit four minutes before half-time, winning a scrum penalty on the Sale 22 and kicking to the right corner, from where Guy Pepper scored at the back of a rampaging maul.

Brett Connon slotted the touchline conversion into the wind, with a jackal turnover from Pepper on his own 22 ensuring Sale did not add to their lead as they took a 14-7 advantage into the changing rooms.

Newcastle continued their momentum in the early exchanges of the second half, Matias Moroni kicking to the right corner for the advancing Radwan, only for the ball to roll fractionally dead.

A line-break from Jamie Blamire and support from Adam Brocklebank had the home side inside the Sale 22 as they fed off scrum dominance, and the teams were level on 54 minutes when Tim Cardall scored a converted try from a determined pick and go.

Parity lasted until the hour mark when Sale hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie scored from a pick-and-go in the right corner, and the game was theirs for the keeping when winger Tom Roebuck ran in their bonus-point try nine minutes from time, hitting a support line from five metres out.

Rob du Preez had the final say of the day when the outside centre scored on an arcing line down the right, with Ford once again converting.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo (Tom Penny, 39), 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Rory Jennings (Oli Spencer, 66), 11 Ben Redshaw, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart (James Elliott, 70); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Mark Dormer, 77), 2 Jamie Blamire (Bryan Byrne, 74), 3 Eduardo Bello (Richard Palframan, 59), 4 Philip van der Walt (Tim Cardall, 20), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Pepper (Freddie Lockwood, 62), 8 Callum Chick (captain).

Scorers – Tries: Guy Pepper, Tim Cardall. Conversions: Brett Connon 2.

Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Rob du Preez, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Arron Reed (Tom O’Flaherty, 54), 10 George Ford, 9 Raffi Quirke (Gus Warr, 46); 1 Bevan Rodd (Si McIntyre, 50), 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 James Harper, 4 Cobus Wiese, 5 Josh Beaumont (Hyron Andrews, 54), 6 Ben Curry (captain), 7 Sam Dugdale, 8 JL du Preez.  

Scorers – Tries: Ben Curry, Joe Carpenter, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Roebuck, Rob du Preez. Conversions: George Ford 5.

Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe. Attendance: 8,361.