Match Report

Leicester Tigers - 0

Newcastle Falcons - 19

Saturday 15th Apr 2017

Newcastle played a full part in a keenly-contested first half which saw them eight points down at the interval, the home side flexing their muscles in the second period in a result which puts a major dent in the Falcons’ quest for Champions Cup rugby.

Leicester began the brighter with a spell of early pressure in the Falcons’ half, a pair of penalties kicked to the corner as Newcastle’s line-out defence was given a good work-out. At the third attempt the home side opted for the kick at goal, fly-half Freddie Burns getting them off the mark with a straightforward penalty from 15 metres out.

Newcastle’s own attacking intent was laid clear when former Tiger Vereniki Goneva attacked from deep inside his own 22, linking with Nili Latu and Juan Pablo Socino, although it was the Falcons’ defence which was to the fore as Leicester tried and failed to score from yet another driving maul in the right corner.

Eager tackling by Evan Olmstead and some keen ruck work from his fellow forwards earned the Falcons a penalty which was kicked to the corner, although the opportunity slipped by as Leicester pilfered the line-out and cleared to safety.

Growing into the half, the visitors finally drew level on 24 minutes when Tigers entered a ruck at the side and were penalised on the 22, Joel Hodgson slotting the resulting penalty from the right-hand side.

Mark Wilson, one of seven academy graduates in the starting XV won a valuable penalty with some speedy ruck work as former Falcon George McGuigan attacked, and when Will Welch made a line-break on half-way it almost created a try for Goneva down the right – the Fijian held up just short of the line.

Leicester went back in front on 35 minutes when Burns chipped over a second penalty from pointblank range, and his side assumed an 11-3 interval lead with the final play of the half when the video referee deemed Ellis Genge to have squirmed over for a try in the left corner amid a heap of bodies.

The second half began with further forward pressure as David Wilson was sin-binned following a series of re-set scrums near his own try-line, and with Sinoti Sinoti sacrificed to make way for a prop replacement Leicester exploited the extra man when Telusa Veainu scored in the vacated right corner.

Burns’ touchline conversion extended their lead to 18-3, captain Welch preventing the concession of a third try with a decisive tackle from a Tigers counter down the right flank as Adam Thompstone and Tom Youngs teamed up.

It proved to be only a temporary reprieve as Genge powered over for a second try on 55 minutes, Ben Youngs wrapping up the bonus point victory with a try from a quick tap as Newcastle were caught napping.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Vereniki Goneva (Zach Kibirige, 59), 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson (Craig Willis, 55), 9 Michael Young (Sam Egerton, 39); 1 Rob Vickers (Ben Harris, 75), 2 Kyle Cooper (Ben Sowrey, 51), 3 David Wilson (Jon Welsh, 55), 4 Calum Green, 5 Evan Olmstead (Will Witty, 59), 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Nili Latu (Callum Chick, 51).

**Sin bin:** David Wilson (45).

**Falcons scorers -** Penalties: Joel Hodgson.

**Leicester Tigers:** 15 Telusa Veainu (Mathew Tait, 72), 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns (Owen Williams, 61), 9 Ben Youngs (captain, Sam Harrison, 71)); 1 Ellis Genge (Greg Bateman, 61), 2 George McGuigan (Tom Youngs, 48), 3 Dan Cole (Fraser Balmain, 61), 4 Dom Barrow, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Mike Williams (Mike Fitzgerald, 55), 7 Harry Thacker (Harry Wells, 72), 8 Brendon O’Connor.

**Tigers scorers -** Tries: Ellis Genge 2, Telusa Veainu, Ben Youngs. Conversions: Freddie Burns 2. Penalties: Freddie Burns 2.

**Referee:** Ian Tempest. **Attendance:** 23,773.