Match Report

- - 8

Newcastle Falcons -

Sunday 28th Sep 2014

Despite a promising start Newcastle Falcons’ search for a first Aviva Premiership victory continues, Dean Richards’ side beaten 35-18 at Wasps on Sunday.

The home side rode an early storm to pull away as the game went on, Newcastle showing no shortage of effort against clinical opposition.

The Falcons trailed 17-11 midway through a competitive first half played out in baking conditions in High Wycombe, the visitors making the early running but Wasps taking their opportunities with a greater degree of ruthlessness.

Juan Pablo Socino’s third-minute penalty had Newcastle ahead when a late hit on Simon Hammersley presented the fly-half with a long-range shot at the posts, Kieran Brookes rattling the home side with a colossal midfield hit.

A much-improved line-out was delivering clean ball, Socino clearing his lines well as Adam Powell ran the hard yards in midfield.

It was therefore against the run of play that Wasps took a 7-3 lead on 17 minutes when Elliot Daly’s arcing run and offload freed Tom Varndell for a try down the left, converted by Andy Goode.

Socino thumped over a second penalty from the halfway line to reduce hosts’ lead to a single point, Goode wiping that straight off as Newcastle were caught offside from the restart.

Mark Wilson was only a whisker away from the Falcons’ first try when a charge down the left saw Daly bundling him into the corner post, but the home side’s increasing grip on the game delivered a second touch-down when Ashley Johnson’s break and offload allowed James Gaskell to score.

Goode added the conversion, Newcastle finishing the half strongly and earning due rewards for their energy when Ruki Tipuna scored down the left.

The scrum-half was a bundle of energy throughout, a line-out in the right seeing the ball worked across the field before the Kiwi squirmed over from the fringes of the ruck.

Socino’s conversion missed its target from wide out as the interval deficit remained at six points, Goode’s second penalty nudging the margin back to nine with a 40-metre penalty for offside just four minutes after the resumption.

Slick off-the-top line-out ball had the Falcons over the gain-line as an improved set-piece continued to function, but Goode’s boot was continuing to hurt them as the former England man slotted over his third penalty from the left.

The visitors were getting closer as Tipuna recycled quick ball, Alex Tait hitting a super running line down the right and Alex Rogers having a try turned down by the video referee as he peeled away from the back of a close-range line-out but knocked-on in the act of grounding.

The TMO was a busy man as referee Dean Richards called on his services just two minutes later, answering in the affirmative when asked if Varndell had scored in the left corner.

Former Falcon Rob Miller smashed over the touchline conversion, Alesana Tuilagi and Rory Clegg among those entering the fray as Richards turned to his bench.

The introduction of Oliver Tomaszczyk and Rob Hawkins added ballast to the scrum with a free-kick won on their first set-piece, Wasps still hunting the four-try bonus point against dogged Newcastle defence.

Hard running from Gonzalo Tiesi kept the visitors in it, but the contest was over when Christian Wade’s steal and Miller’s 50-metre sprint saw the Cumbrian scoring the bonus-point try.

The Falcons at least ended on a positive when pressure five metres from the line delivered a penalty try, Christian Wade judged to have deliberately knocked on as Clegg floated a long pass to Hammersley.

Clegg added the extras from in front, but Wasps ended the afternoon still comfortably in front as Newcastle now prepare for Sunday’s visit of Exeter Chiefs.

**Newcastle Falcons**
S Hammersley, A Tait (A Tuilagi, 56), G Tiesi, A Powell, S Sinoti, JP Socino (R Clegg, 56), R Tipuna (W Fury, 60); K Brookes (A Rogers, 34), S Lawson (R Hawkins, 60), S Wilson (O Tomaszczyk, 60), C Green, D Barrow (J Furno, 51), M Wilson (R Mayhew, 51), W Welch (captain), A Hogg.

Falcons scorers – Tries: R Tipuna, Penalty try. Conversions: R Clegg. Penalties: JP Socino 2.

R Miller, S Tagicakibau, C Daly, E Leiua (C Wade, 66), T Varndell, A Goode (A Masi, 55), J Simpson (C Davies, 57); M Mullan (J Yapp, 61), C Festuccia (T Lindsay, 57), J Cooper-Wooley, J Gaskell, K Myall (J Cannon, 66), A Johnson, J Haskell (captain), E Jackson (N Hughes, 64).

Sin bin: C Wade (73)

Wasps scorers – Tries: T Varndell 2, J Gaskell, R Miller. Conversions: A Goode 2, R Miller. Penalties: A Goode 3.

Referee: D Richards. Attendance: 5,568.