Match Report

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Newcastle Falcons -

Saturday 27th Feb 2016

Newcastle Falcons’ 2016 revival suffered a blow in the West Country on Saturday as Gloucester powered to a four-try triumph.

The Kingsholm club scored the only try of the second half to wrap up the bonus point, the Falcons already well behind by that stage on a day when their standards dipped from those which saw Leicester, Northampton, Harlequins and Bath all dispatched in the Aviva Premiership.

Newcastle trailed 25-6 after a difficult opening half, a pair of Craig Willis penalties their only contribution to the scoring as Gloucester ran in three tries at the other end.

James Hook made the first inroads with a penalty three minutes in, the Welshman having fired wide with an earlier effort as his side enjoyed by far the greater territory and possession.

Centre Bill Meakes crossed for the first of their tries when Billy Twelvetrees’ run down the right exposed Newcastle’s defence, play spread to the opposite side as Meakes stepped and powered his way over.

Hook added the conversion as the hosts went into double figures inside 10 minutes, Newcastle feeding off scraps as Tane Takulua threatened a burst down the blind-side after catching a high bomb.

It was all Gloucester in terms of attacking momentum, David Humphreys’ side registering their second try when Hook’s hand-off freed the fly half for a run between the posts.
He converted his own touchdown, adding a further penalty on the half-hour as Newcastle were left staring up a 20-point mountain.

Willis finally got the visitors on the board with a well-struck penalty from 40 metres out, the Falcons at least ending the half with a five-minute spell in the home 22.

Repeated penalties failed to yield a yellow card as Gloucester tried every means possible to keep Newcastle out, Willis finally opting for the three after a series of close-range set-pieces fizzled out.

That was the last action of the half as his side trailed by 19, the second 40 offering little in the way of fluency from either side.

A half dogged by handling errors, set-piece faults and general lack of cohesion was a hard watch for the 11,095 inside Kingsholm.

Gloucester had to wait until near the end for the bonus point they so coveted, Tom Savage running a hard line around the fringes of a ruck in the right corner to break through Newcastle’s close-in defence.

Twelvetrees added the conversion from wide out, Newcastle at least enjoying the consolation of seeing Sinoti Sinoti back in action.

The Samoan was his usual bundle of energy in a long-awaited comeback from calf surgery, even if most of his workload was of the defensive variety.

That aside, positives were in short supply for a Falcons side who will now need to regroup for Friday night’s televised visit of Worcester Warriors.

**Newcastle Falcons**
S Hammersley, G Venditti (S Sinoti, 56), C Harris (JP Socino, 62), A Powell, M Watson, C Willis, T Takulua (M Young, 56); R Vickers (A Rogers, 51), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 68), T Vea (K Hatakeyama, 57), C Green, M Wilson, R Mayhew (T Clever, 26), W Welch (M Botha, 40) (captain), A Hogg.

Falcons scorers – Tries: . Conversions: . Penalties: C Willis.

**Gloucester Rugby**
R Cook, C Sharples, B Meakes (H Trinder, 52), B Twelvetrees (captain), H Purdy, J Hook (B Burns, 63), W Heinz (C Braley, 40); P McAllister (Y Thomas, 52), R Hibbard (D Dawidiuk, 54), J Afoa (P Doran-Jones, 60), J Thrush (T Savage, 60), M Galarza, R Moriarty, J Rowan (M Kvesic, 2), L Ludlow.
Falcons scorers – Tries: B Meakes, J Hook, R Moriarty, T Savage. Conversions: J Hook 2, B Twelvetrees. Penalties: J Hook 2.

Referee: T Foley. Attendance: 11,095.