Newcastle Falcons 38 – 7 London Welsh

Sunday 11 January 2015 Written by: Adam

Leading 24-7 at half-time and pushing on thereafter, Dean Richards’ men demonstrated a continuation of the attacking promise they had shown at champions Northampton nine days earlier.

The hosts had the four-try bonus point wrapped up after just 31 minutes of an action-packed encounter, a mixture of powerful mauling play and expansive offloading asking question after question of the Exiles’ defence.

With Tom Catterick threatening the gain-line Newcastle’s attacking intentions were abundantly clear, their multi-phase attack seeing the ball kept alive as Adam Powell and Kieran Brookes linked for an early break.

In the end it was the set-piece which delivered the breakthrough when a five-metre scrum and a simple pass to the blind-side allowed Sinoti Sinoti to dance his way to the left corner.

Catterick’s conversion was held up in the wind, but he found his range five minutes later when a rolling maul in the same corner culminated in Rob Vickers grounding the ball.

In truth it was a collective score to reward the Falcons’ overall forward dominance, Opeti Fonua the chief threat for London Welsh with a string of runs from the fringe.

Rampant Newcastle were seeking and finding space with increasing regularity, Mike Blair cantering in for the third after Sinoti’s break and Mark Wilson’s simple pass handed the Scot a walk-in.

Left winger Nick Scott got the Exiles on the board as he countered with a try in the left corner following a volley in open field, but the bonus point was bagged by Newcastle just after the half-hour.

That was when Catterick’s touch-finder from a penalty gave them a line-out five metres from the right corner, a well-structured rolling maul regenerating to send skipper Will Welch over the line.

It remained 24-7 at half-time despite the Falcons continuing to press, Welsh bringing on former England centre Olly Barkley in a bid to increase their share of the control.

But it was Newcastle who remained in charge, hard running lines and support play almost seeing Juan Pablo Socino through as the centre was pulled back for a forward pass inside the 22.

Josh Furno’s pilfering skills at the front of the line-out and Ally Hogg’s ruck work further added to the stream of possession enjoyed by their side, the latter speeding in for the fifth try with a fleet-footed break down the right.

Catterick converted brilliantly from the touchline and into the wind, the Falcons introducing Argentina prop Juan Pablo Orlandi for his club debut among five replacements made around the hour mark.

They were soon joined by Ruki Tipuna, Alesana Tuilagi and Richard Mayhew as the home side emptied their bench, Newcastle given a late defensive work-out as their visitors opted for a succession of close-range line-outs.

The Falcons’ rearguard held firm for the duration, offering one last try in attack when Catterick ghosted down the blind-side.

His conversion extended the winning margin to 31 points, the club now moving into a month of cuo games as Newport Gwent Dragons are the European Rugby Challenge Cup visitors on Saturday.

**Newcastle Falcons**
S Hammersley, S Sinoti, A Powell (C Harris, 62), JP Socino, A Tait (Al Tuilagi, 68), T Catterick, M Blair (R Tipuna, 68); R Vickers (E Fry, 62), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 62), K Brookes (JP Orlandi, 62), C Green (K Thompson, 62), J Furno, M Wilson, W Welch (captain, R Mayhew, 68), A Hogg.

Falcons scorers – Tries: S Sinoti, R Vickers, M Blair, W Welch, A Hogg, T Catterick. Conversions: T Catterick 4. Penalties: .

**London Welsh**
W Robinson (S Stegmann, 65), E Kear, T May (captain), S Jewell (O Barkley, 40), N Scott, P Weepu, P Rowley (R Lewis, 61); N Trevett (R Reeves, 76), K Britton (N Morris, 52), T Vea (B Cooper, 76), B West, J Down, P Browne (R Thorpe, 56), C Kirwan (B Pienaar, 76), O Fonua.

Welsh scorers – Tries: N Scott. Conversions: W Robinson.

Referee: W Barnes. Attendance: 5,048.