Match Report

- - 14

Newcastle Falcons -

Saturday 09th May 2015

Juan Pablo Socino’s late try got them to within a converted score of victory, the final push falling centimetres short as Sale took maximum points.

The early prospects looked positive for the Falcons when home hooker Tommy Taylor was sin-binned in only the second minute for a tip tackle on Rob Vickers, but within 60 seconds of the yellow card the visitors were a try down.

Ex-Falcons Academy forward Josh Beaumont was the man to make it, the former Durham University student hitting a super line before offloading to Scotland Scrum Half Chris Cusiter from close range.

England Fly Half Danny Cipriani added the extras, Newcastle wasting no time in hitting back as Centre Adam Powell turned on the after-burners for a try down the right.

The former Saracen picked out a mis-match with prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts left stranded in the back-line, the Welshman standing no chance as Powell ghosted through the gap from 22 metres out.

An open game saw both sides give the ball plenty of width, Sale extending their lead when Tom Arscott’s line-break and Cipriani’s overhead pass handed Mark Cueto a try in the right corner on his final home game following Tom Brady’s charitable decision to move the ball.

Rory Clegg and Cipriani traded a penalty apiece, Clegg adding a second as the visitors turned the attacking screw.

The midfield combination of Socino and Powell asked plenty of questions of the Sharks’ defence, their combination of decoys and shrewd running lines seeing them in behind on repeated occasions.

Ruki Tipuna buzzed around the base of the breakdown as Newcastle searched for further gains, but it was Sale who took a 24-11 lead into the interval when Sam Tuitupou scored between the posts.

The former All Black Centre’s upper-body strength got him over the try-line after a line-out in the left corner was worked infield, Cipriani adding the extras.

A scrappy start to the second half saw the Falcons drawing first blood when Clegg chipped over his third penalty of the afternoon from in front on the 22, but it was Sale making the running.

They had the four-try bonus point before the hour mark when the video referee awarded Dave Seymour a try in the right corner, the flanker having successfully grounded a grubber down the tram-lines.

The dual introduction of Alesana and Andy Tuilagi added a more direct running threat as Newcastle searched for a way back into the game, the latter breaking the midfield defence and helping build a momentum which ended in Richard Mayhew’s try.

The Kiwi flanker barrelled over from a rolling maul in the right corner, his backs adding weight to the shove before Mayhew peeled off the back to power over.

With Clegg off the field Socino slotted the conversion from out wide, the Sharks answering immediately when flanker TJ Ioane scored from a pick-and-go down the left.

Joe Ford’s missed conversion gave the Falcons a chance at less than two scores down, the margin reduced further when Socino grounded in the left corner.

The Argentinian was an energetic presence from start to finish, claiming a deserved try when Powell’s break and Mike Blair’s offload presented him with a run-in.

His conversion narrowed the gap to six with four minutes left, Newcastle dominating the late exchanges.

But the crucial score just would not come, Sale’s line-out defence holding the key as the home side ground out the result.

**Newcastle Falcons**
S Hammersley, A Tait (Al Tuilagi, 55), A Powell, JP Socino, S Sinoti, R Clegg (An Tuilagi, 55), R Tipuna (M Blair, 60); R Vickers (E Fry, 55), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 55), K Brookes (JP Orlandi, 63), C Green, K Thompson (W Witty, 71), M Wilson, W Welch (captain), A Hogg (R Mayhew, 60).

Falcons scorers – Tries: A Powell, R Mayhew, JP Socino. Conversions: JP Socino 2. Penalties: R Clegg 3.

**Sale Sharks**
T Arscott, T Brady, J Leota, S Tuitupou, M Cueto (M Haley, 74), D Cipriani (J Ford, 65), C Cusiter (W Cliff, 46); E Lewis-Roberts (M Jones, 50), T Taylor (R Harrison, 50), V Cobilas (C Parker, 65), J Mills (M Paterson, 55), N Hines, D Braid (captain, TJ Ioane, 46), D Seymour, J Beaumont.

Sin-bin: T Taylor (3).
Sale scorers – Tries: J Beaumont, M Cueto, S Tuitupou, D Seymour, TJ Ioane. Conversions: D Cipriani 3. Penalties: D Cipriani.

Referee: Matt Carley. Attendance: 7,058.