Falcons 8 Edinburgh 21

Sunday 16 December 2018

Newcastle Falcons suffered Heineken Champions Cup frustration on Sunday as Edinburgh ended their five-game unbeaten home run.

The home side had shown a spring in their step during the early exchanges and led 8-6 at the break, Scotland centre Chris Harris making a line-break from his own 22 and Sonatane Takulua taking a quick tap when Edinburgh infringed in their scrambling defence.

The attack failed to muster any points but the Falcons had laid down a marker, Edinburgh old boy John Hardie doing likewise in defence when his trademark jackal turnover underneath his own goal posts earned Newcastle a relieving penalty.

Having lost Calum Green during the warm-up there was a further blow for the hosts when Johnny Williams limped of after just 10 minutes, the centre followed shortly after by No 8 Nemani Nagusa as Dean Richards was forced to turn to his bench.

One of the replacements almost made an instant impact when Tom Arscott was put through a hole by Vereniki Goneva, Arscott finding Simon Hammersley in support but the move breaking down in back play as the Falcons knocked on.

Newcastle finally found the try that their enterprise deserved on 19 minutes, Hammersley defusing a high bomb inside his own half, feeding Goneva down the left, who in turn broke away and passed inside to Sinoti Sinoti, who sped into the left corner from the 22.

Jaco van der Walt cut the lead by three with a well-struck penalty from 35 metres out just left of centre, Toby Flood restoring the five-point margin on 27 minutes with a penalty from in front after another Goneva line-break forced the visitors to step offside in defence.

Van der Walt ‘s second penalty continued the tit-for-tat scoring on 33 minutes as they pointed at the posts at the third time of asking, the Falcons twice repelling close-range set-pieces near their own try-line and taking an 8-6 lead with them into the interval after a strong finish to the half.

Edinburgh put themselves ahead for the first time within four minutes of the resumption, centre James Johnstone scoring from a chip over the defensive line which he collected in-goal, Van der Walt adding the simple conversion.

The Falcons twice repelled a potential second Edinburgh try when two line-outs in the right corner were defended with patience and aggression, the visitors eventually extending their lead to eight points on the hour mark via Van der Walt’s third penalty following a scrum collapse.

Newcastle found a renewed forward vigour with repeated carries at first receiver seeing decent yardage gained, but the scoring break was proving elusive, even when Tevita Cavubati went close down the left and Sinoti did likewise down the right from a flowing passage of play.

The Scots were having no such worries, wrapping up the game on 75 minutes when Duhan van der Merwe crossed in the left corner.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Johnny Williams (Tom Arscott, 10), 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood (captain), 9 Sonatane Takulua (Sam Stuart, 75); 1 Sam Lockwood (Sami Mavinga, 60), 2 Kyle Cooper (George McGuigan, 60), 3 Trevor Davison (Jack Payne, 75), 4 Glen Young (Ryan Burrows, 40), 5 Tevita Cavubati, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 John Hardie, 8 Nemani Nagusa (Gary Graham, 14).

Falcons scorers - Tries: Sinoti Sinoti. Conversions: . Penalties: Toby Flood.

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Chris Dean (Juan Pablo Socino, 77), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt (Simon Hickey, 75), 9 Henry Pyrgos (Nathan Fowles, 77); 1 Allan Dell (Pierre Schoeman, 46), 2 Stuart McInally (captain, Dave Cherry, 67), 3 WP Nel (Simon Berghan, 65), 4 Ben Toolis (Callum Hunter-Hill, 75), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Luke Hamilton, 7 Hamish Watson (Luke Crosbie, 75), 8 Viliame Mata.

Edinburgh scorers - Tries: James Johnstone, Duhan van der Merwe. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt. Penalties: Jaco van der Walt 3.

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France). Attendance: 7,174.

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