Match Report

Leicester Tigers - 0

Newcastle Falcons - 19

Saturday 17th Sep 2022

A chaotic opening half saw the home side in front 26-14 at the interval, having led 12-0, then trailed 12-14 before grounding a pair of tries in the closing two minutes of the half.

It did not take the hosts long to begin their scoring, with prop James Cronin grounding from a pick-and-go in the right corner after earlier forays had seen Nemani Nadolo and Harry Potter stopped just short of the line.

Jimmy Gopperth added the touchline conversion against his former club, and try number two arrived on seven minutes when a big spell of goal-line defence saw Falcons’ numbers sucked infield – Leicester spinning the ball left for Nadolo to exploit the space in the left corner for an unconverted score.

Newcastle got themselves back into the play, if not on the scoreboard, when midfield carries from Pete Lucock, Carl Fearns and George Wacokecoke helped force a pair of penalties in the home half, with skipper Will Welch ultimately held up over the try-line as the Tigers withstood the pressure.

But the Leicester line was breached in more meaningful fashion just before the quarter mark when Josh Barton scored his first try for the club, collecting an inside pass from Nathan Earle to score in the left corner after his side had worked back ball at a line-out down the short-side.

Brett Connon converted from the touchline to reduce the arrears to five, and the Falcons were a real force in the game with Carl Fearns and George McGuigan getting them over the gain line with some meaty midfield carries.

That momentum saw them taking the lead on 33 minutes when a fabulous 50-22 from Connon earned then a line-out in the right corner, former Tiger McGuigan eventually scoring from a close-range pick-and-go for Connon to add the extras.

But there was a sting in the Tigers’ tail as they led 26-14 at half-time, scoring two tries in the space of as many minutes.

The first of those came when Nadolo collected an offload in support of a Ben Youngs line-break to score between the posts, and the big Fijian turned provider straight from the kick-off when he broke through a tackle and fed Chris Ashton for a converted try down the left.

Leicester continued their momentum after the break, earning a pair of penalties in the right corner only for superb maul defence by Newcastle to force the turnover.

It served only to galvanise the Falcons, who had their third try on 47 minutes when Mateo Carreras collected his own kick ahead, bamboozling the last man with some fancy footwork before crossing between the posts for Connon to add the simple conversion.

Only the TMO prevented the Falcons drawing level on 53 minutes when Adam Radwan scored in the right corner before being pulled back for a forward pass, Tigers, too, having a try ruled out by video when Nadolo scored down the left only for a knock-on to be spotted by the video ref.

Leicester resorted to the boot in search of further points, Gopperth’s 70th-minute penalty taking Newcastle out of bonus point range as he slotted from just right of centre on the 22.

They then added a fifth try from Olly Cracknell’s pick-and-go down the left to remove all doubt over the result, with the Falcons leaving empty-handed despite keeping going til the last.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle (Mateo Carreras, 23), 10 Brett Connon (Tian Schoeman, 58), 9 Josh Barton (Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 53); 1 Phil Brantingham (Conrad Cade, 66), 2 George McGuigan (Charlie Maddison, 76), 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 66), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Will Welch (captain), 7 Jamie Blamire (Sebastian de Chaves, 63), 8 Carl Fearns (Connor Collett, 58).

**Scorers -** Tries: Josh Barton, George McGuigan, Mateo Carreras. Conversions: Brett Connon 3.

**Leicester Tigers:** 15 Chris Ashton, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott (Phil Cokanasiga, 66), 12 Guy Porter, 11 Nemani Nadolo (Kini Murimurivalu, 73), 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Ben Youngs (Jack van Poortvliet, 53); 1 James Cronin (Francois van Wyk, 57), 2 Charlie Clare (Joe Taufete’e, 73), 3 Dan Cole (Joe Heyes, 57), 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green (Tommy Reffell, 48), 6 George Martin (Olly Cracknell, 70), 7 Ollie Chessum, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain).

**Scorers -** Tries: James Cronin, Nemani Nadolo 2, Chris Ashton, Olly Cracknell. Conversions: Jimmy Gopperth 4. Penalties: Jimmy Gopperth.

**Referee:** Craig Maxwell-Keys. **Attendance:** 18,106.