Newcastle Falcons completed an unbeaten pre-season at BT Murrayfield on Friday night, Callum Chick’s late try handing them a 26-21 triumph.
Newcastle had led 14-7 at the midway stage, Vereniki Goneva impressing with his first touch as he beat an Edinburgh defender and got a tidy offload away.
A driving maul in the left corner failed to deliver a try as the visitors kicked a penalty into touch, but the Falcons nosed ahead on five minutes when Chris Harris sliced through the middle of the Edinburgh defence to race between the posts from 20 metres.
Mike Delany converted, Edinburgh drawing themselves level on 17 minutes when replacement hooker Stuart McInally dotted down in the left corner. Newcastle hooker Scott Lawson looked to have saved a try with a heroic tackle down the opposite side, but the hosts’ quick transfer of the ball saw them exploiting numbers as McInally collected the inside offload to score.
Scotland international Duncan Weir added the conversion, Newcastle showing plenty in defence as Calum Green in the maul and Sinoti Sinoti in open field both made their presence felt.
Evan Olmstead stole an Edinburgh lineout in his own 22, and the big Canadian international continued his amazing scoring run on half time when he dived in for his third try in three games. It stemmed from an opportunist blind-side move, quick hands down the tramlines giving Olmstead a sniff of the line from the 22.
Delany’s touchline conversion bisected the uprights for a seven-point interval advantage, Newcastle handing a debut to Tongan international Opeti Fonua and in-form winger Zach Kibirige as the second half got underway.
The pair combined for a fine try within a minute of the resumption, Fonua running through two tacklers with his first touch and offloading to Juan Pablo Socino, setting in motion an attack which ended with Kibirige scoring his third in three games from slick hands down the right.
The home side hit back when Solomoni Rasolea pumped his legs for a try from a ruck in the right corner, Weir’s conversion narrowing the Falcons’ lead to five points. Joel Hodgson’s line-break saw the replacement fly-half making an early impact as Newcastle turned to their bench, Sam Egerton on to complete a new-look half-back pairing.
Their team trailed for the first time on 63 minutes when Rasolea’s line-break and good support running handed Weir a try between the posts, the fly-half converting his own score for a two-point advantage going into the final 15 minutes.
Callum Chick was within a whisker of a try for the Falcons as they built some pressure in the home 22, and at the second time of t asking the Under-20s World Cup winner found a winner when he reached out from close range, Hodgson converting.
That left just three minutes for Edinburgh to reply – Newcastle holding out to complete their unbeaten pre-season campaign ahead of the Aviva Premiership opener at home to Sale Sharks on Friday September 2.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Jon Welsh, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Taione Vea, 4 Calum Green, 5 Will Witty, 6 Evan Olmstead, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Mark Wilson.
REPLACEMENTS: Ben Sowrey, Alex Rogers, Paddy Ryan, Nick Civetta, Tyrone Holmes, Joel Hodgson, Sam Egerton, Zach Kibirige, Alex Tait, Belisario Agulla, Opeti Fonua, Callum Chick.
Falcons scorers – Tries: C Harris, Evan Olmstead, Zach Kibirige, Callum Chick. Conversions: Mike Delany 2, Joel Hodgson.
EDINBURGH: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Sasa Tofilau, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Ross Ford, 3 WP Nel, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Magnus Bradbury.
REPLACEMENTS: Stuart McInally, Jack Cosgrove, Berghan, Ben Toolis, Hardie, Nathan Fowles, Blair Kinghorn, Dean, George Turner, Lewis Carmichael, Viliami Fihaki, Solomoni Rasolea.
Edinburgh scorers – Tries: Stuart McInally, Solomoni Rasolea, Duncan Weir. Conversions: Duncan Weir 3.
Referee: Graeme Wells.