The Richards revolution gathered pace on Friday night as Newcastle Falcons made it three wins out of three in the RFU Championship with another bonus-point victory over Doncaster Knights.
An injury time try from Jimmy Gopperth sealed the bonus-point triumph and maintains Dean Richards’ perfect start to life on Tyneside with 15 points out of 15 at the top of the Championship tree.
With referee Ian tempest poised and ready to blow up for full-time, Gopperth had other ideas, side-stepping his marker to scythe through a gap and score at the South Stand end to send Kingston Park into raptures.
As eluded to by Richards in his pre-match press conference, it was a tough affair for his side with Doncaster proving difficult to breakdown for much of the game.
Richards’ men looked to use the pace of Tom Catterick and Luke Fielden out wide but to Doncaster’s credit they stood firm. Catterick came in for Andrew Higgins at the last minute with the latter nursing a knee injury.
Midway through the first-half Doncaster were reduced to 14 men when loose-head prop Brian McGovern was sin-binned for persistent infringements in the scrum.
From the resulting scrum Mr Tempest awarded the Falcons a penalty try with Jimmy Gopperth adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Doncaster responded immediately courtesy of a Jamie Lennard penalty following sloppy play at the restart. The northeasterners failed to gather possession and after a series of drives, the Knights won a penalty which Lennard converted.
On the half hour mark Gopperth edged his side 10-3 ahead with a penalty from bang in front of the posts before repeating the feat on the stroke of half-time to make it 13-3.
The North East outfit came out for the second period in positive fashion with scrum-half Rory Lawson the architect for Fielden and James Fitzpatrick to puncture holes in the Knights defence.
Struggling to contain the Falcons, Doncaster conceded a penalty in front of the posts and Gopperth duly obliged to extend the Falcons’ advantage to 16-3.
Two minutes later Jonny Golding crashed over from close range after a rampant Falcons attack involving Fitzpatrick and Tane Tu’ipulotu. After strong carries from the duo, prop Oliver Tomaszczyk edged his side closer to the line before Golding scooped the ball up from the ruck to score.
Gopperth nailed his conversion from in front of the posts and the Falcons led 23-3. Doncaster posed little danger to the Falcons’ rearguard and 10 minutes from time James Hudson finished off a rolling maul to touchdown. Gopperth converted via the post to give his side the upper hand at 30-3.
In injury time the Falcons clinched the bonus-point victory courtesy of Gopperth, who crossed the whitewash in style as the Falcons’ continued their perfect start to the campaign.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Rory Lawson, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Scott MacLeod, 5 James Hudson, 6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Richard Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 James Hall, 18 Sean Tomes, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Alex Crockett
Doncaster Knights: 15 Dougie Flockhart, 14 Dante Mama, 13 Will Simpson, 12 James Tincknell, 11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Jamie Lennard, 9 Chris Hallam, 1 Brian McGovern, 2 Rhys Buckley, 3 Jerry Cronin, 4 Royce Cadman, 5 Phil Hoy, 6 Matt Challinor (c), 7 Jethro Rawling, 8 Adam Kettle
Replacements: 16 Andy Brown, 17 Ben Sowery, 18 Andy Boyde, 19 David Bradford, 20 Sam Pailor, 21 James Munro, 22 Tom Barrett