Adam Radwan scoring a first-half try

Edinburgh 31 Falcons 13

Friday 7 December 2018

Newcastle Falcons tasted Heineken Champions Cup defeat for the first time this season, falling in the Scottish capital on Friday night after a full-blooded encounter.

Dean Richards’ men had been forced into a late adjustment with Sam Lockwood packing down at tight-head prop, the visitors finding themselves roared on by a sizeable and vocal away support.

The travelling fans were in full voice after five minutes when Brett Connon stroked over a penalty from the left-hand side, the visitors earning their pop at goal thanks largely to a superb kick chase which panned back the hosts near their own 22.

Edinburgh had a chance to level matters from near-identical range but opted to kick the penalty into touch, a decision which backfired when Glen Young rose high at the front to take a valuable and relieving steal.

Presented with a similar opportunity on 16 minutes the home side fared better, their close-range line-out turned into a patient period of pick-and-go play which was finally spun wide, Hamish Watson exploiting numbers down the right to dive over, Jaco van der Walt converting via the left goal post.

The Falcons had a flicker of a chance when a solid scrum 40 metres out saw the ball worked right along the line only for a knock-on to bring the move to an end, but it was only a temporary reprieve for Edinburgh.

Newcastle got their due rewards on 29 minutes when quick hands down the short-side from the 22 saw Pedro Bettencourt freeing Adam Radwan, who sped into the left corner for his first Champions Cup try, Connon converting brilliantly from the touchline for a three-point lead.

Edinburgh levelled the game up at 10-10 at the second time of asking five minutes before half-time, Van der Walt hitting the post with a penalty from wide right but finding his target from a subsequent penalty in a more central position.

Connon handed the visitors a 13-10 interval lead with another superbly-struck penalty from wide out on the left, but they trailed after just three minutes of the second half when centre Chris Dean scored a converted try between the posts from a crash ball line, the hosts spinning the ball out after a sustained pick-and-go period near the right corner.

Newcastle tried to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and enjoyed fleeting moments with a midfield jackal penalty win and a line-break by Adam Brocklebank, but Edinburgh’s grip on proceedings was growing.

That was demonstrated on 57 minutes when a series of penalties in the left corner eventually delivered a penalty try from a scrum infringement, and it took the TMO to rule out another try four minutes later when last-ditch defence from Tom Arscott bundled Darcy Graham into touch just short of the corner post.

The bonus point finally arrived for Edinburgh on 72 minutes when full-back Blair Kinghorn chased down a kick to the in-goal, completing the scoring on a difficult evening.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait (Johnny Williams, 67), 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Pedro Bettencourt, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Adam Brocklebank (Sam Lockwood, 75), 2 George McGuigan (Santiago Socino, 67), 3 Sam Lockwood (Sami Mavinga, 57), 4 Tevita Cavubati (Calum Green, 63), 5 Glen Young, 6 Ryan Burrows (captain), 7 Gary Graham, 8 Callum Chick (Simon Uzokwe, 67).

Falcons scorers - Tries: Adam Radwan. Coversions: Brett Connon. Penalties: Brett Connon 2.

Edinburgh Rugby: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone (Juan Pablo Socino, 62), 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt (Simon Hickey, 73), 9 Henry Pyrgos (Nathan Fowles, 68); 1 Pierre Schoeman (Allan Dell, 57), 2 Stuart McInally (captain, David Cherry, 62-67), 3 WP Nel (Simon Berghan, 57), 4 Ben Toolis (Callum Hunter-Hill, 60), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 James Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Viliame Mata.

Edinburgh scorers - Tries: Hamish Watson, Chris Dean, Penalty try, Blair Kinghorn. Coversions: Jaco van der Walt 3. Penalties: Jaco van der Walt.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy).

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