Match Report

- - 13

Newcastle Falcons -

Saturday 20th Dec 2014

A performance brimming with energy saw them create chances by the bucket-load as they looked for a second away win of the season, but some slack discipline and the boot of Swiel were enough to win the day, the double whammy of missing out on a bonus point being particularly hard to stomach given the manner in which they performed.

It took the Falcons until the very last play of a wide-open first half to turn their dominance into a 7-3 interval lead, the video referee agreeing that Alesana Tuilagi had grounded just left of the posts after accepting a short pop from Mike Blair.

The big Samoan was at his bulldozing best, forming a wing partnership to rival many with countryman Sinoti Sinoti, who was his usual jack-in-the-box self.

The former Toulon and Wellington man broke the line on repeated occasions, almost setting the game alight in the opening minutes when his mixture of power and footwork got him in behind the Quins defence.

Full-back Simon Hammersley was on hand to take the supporting pass in an attack which got his side within five metres of the try-line, before being dragged into touch before he could offload for a five point score.

Despite and enterprising opening from the Falcons it was Harlequins who took the lead on eight minutes through the first of Swiels penalties, the South African slotting the three from just outside the 22.

Home scrum-half Karl Dickson had the odd snipe from the fringes, but it was mainly Newcastle making the running as fly-half Tom Catterick kept the ball in hand. With Juan Pablo Socino and Adam Powell both willing runners outside of him the phases kept on coming, an improved scrummage platform giving them a firm footing upfront.

Some neat work at the back of the line-out put back-row carriers into space as Mike Blair and Catterick worked the angles, before George McGuigan was pulled back for a forward pass when a one-two with Blair looked to have put the hooker away.

A long-range penalty miss ensured Newcastle stayed three down on 25 minutes, but they finished the half with a flurry. Stealing a key line-out deep inside their own 22 after Quins turned down the shot at goal they went up the other end and were metres from a score when Tuilagi knocked on in contact from a line-break.

The ex-Leicester man was not to be thwarted, however, showing all his trademark aggression to barge over for the try which had his side four up at the break.

The Falcons’ attacking adventure continued after the break with Blair once again at the heart of things, the Scot maintaining a high tempo and freeing Catterick for a blind-side run.

With the home defence standing firm on that occasion, Tuilagi and Noah Cato tested them further with probing breaks down the left, before Quins reducing the gap to just a single point via Swiel’s second penalty on 56 minutes.

Half-back partner Dickson milked a penalty which the Quins Fly Half duly slotted to lead on the hour mark, the stand-off repeating the trick just three minutes later when George McGuigan’s rampaging run out of his own 22 was penalised at the breakdown.

The penaltiies kept on coming and kept on costing Newcastle, Swiel’s fifth putting the visitors outside of bonus point range on 67 minutes as Dean Richards turned to his bench.
Adding late impact through Anitelea Tuilagi they kept on probing for points, but the Londoners dug in to deny them any reward for an afternoon’s work filled with endeavour.

The Falcons attentions now turn to their home game against Saracens on December 27th, with a bumper crowd expecting to turn out and support the team in this year’s festive fixture.

Tickets for the match can be purchased by clicking [here][1] calling 0871 2266060 or by visiting the Kingston Park box office during office hours.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS: S Hammersley (N Cato, 26), S Sinoti, A Powell, JP Socino, Al Tuilagi, T Catterick (An Tuilagi, 67), M Blair (R Tipuna, 64); R Vickers (E Fry, 64), G McGuigan (S Lawson, 64), S Wilson, C Green, D Barrow (K Thompson, 31), M Wilson, W Welch (captain), A Hogg.

Falcons scorers – Tries: Al Tuilagi. Conversions: JP Socino. Penalties: .

HARLEQUINS: M Brown, M Yarde, M Hopper, G Lowe, A Tikoirotuma (U Monye, 51), T Swiel, K Dickson (D Care, 60); M Lambert, J Gray, (D Ward, 47) K Sinckler (W Collier, 47), C Matthews (S Twomey, 73), G Robson (captain), J Trayfoot, J Clifford, J Chisholm.

Harlequins scorers – Tries: . Conversions: . Penalties: T Swiel 5.
Referee: M Carley. Attendance: 13,658.