PREMIERSHIP RUGBY 7s – FALCONS INTO PLATE SEMI FOLLOWING QUARTER FINAL LOSS
Newcastle Falcons hopes of winning the Premiership Rugby 7s series for the second time at the Twickenham stoop were derailed in their quarter final against the Newport Gwent Dragons, as Mark Laycock’s team lost out to the Welsh region 10 – 12.
The Falcons will now drop into the plate competition and face London Irish at 20:30.
With a squad showing three changes from their group winning exploits in Darlington, the Falcons picked up where they left off with a cagey opening half which saw the scores locked at 0-0 as the clock reached five minutes.
When the deadlock was finally broken, it was the man of the round from Group D, Tom Catterick who was the architect.
Taking the ball in his own half, the Falcons 7s captain used a series of dummy passes to draw in the Dragons defence and create space for himself to attack.
Tracked all the way by the Dragons defence, Catterick cleverly slowed his pace to allow support to arrive in the shape of Tom Wilson, the young scrum half taking his try well.
With the conversion missed and the scores at 5-0 the Falcons had a man sent to the sin bin following the restart when Brian Tuilagi was carded for playing the ball on the ground illegally however it was to have little effect as the Falcons doubled their lead on the stroke of half time.
Captain Catterick once again made the initial break, which was carried up field by Chris Harris with a surging run.
Caught short of the line, the Cumbrian centre got the ball into space which was hacked forward by Ben Morris, who controlled the ball brilliantly with his feet to shepherd it over the line and score his sides second of the night.
A simple piece of play from the restart saw the Dragons narrow the gap with a converted try from their captain Sam Cross before they were to add the killer blow two minutes later.
Attacking up field, Tuilagi made an excellent break but his eagerness to find Catterick and keep the move going with an offload, ended up with the ball being intercepted and
Dragons adding a second try through Angus O’Brien.
Searching for another try to win, the Falcons were unable to make the necessary progress as they were repeatedly pinged for going off their feet at the ruck and will now face Irish in the plate semi-finals.