Newcastle Falcons A will meet Saracens Storm in the Premiership Rugby Shield final on Monday May 13 at Kingston Park Stadium after defeating Exeter Braves in their home semi-final.
Flying into a 28-7 half-time lead with a mixture of slick attack and disciplined defence, the Falcons showed plenty of ambition in a cohesive team performance.
Newcastle made the ideal start, scoring after just three minutes when Ben Stevenson grounded between the posts following an Adam Radwan break and support play from skipper Sam Stuart.
Brett Connon converted from in front, and did so again from out on the right touchline on 11 minutes when a five-metre scrum and a George Wacokecoke offload enabled Radwan to dive in for a spectacular finish.
A period of dogged defence from the home side thwarted a wave of Exeter attack, Newcastle’s shape and line-speed standing firm as the visitors left the 22 empty-handed following a sustained offensive spell.
The Falcons’ third try arrived on 21 minutes when a kick downfield from Kyle Cooper set in motion a phase which ended with Wacokecoke scoring down the right, Connon once again converting from wide out.
Radwan’s second try followed on 28 minutes when the Falcons stole an Exeter line-out on their own 22, Jamie Blamire racing down the left before Sam Stuart spun the ball wide, Connon, Bettencourt and Swiel working the ball along the line for Radwan to score in the right corner.
Connon’s touchline conversion took the lead to 28 points, but the visitors responded with a try from a driving maul as hooker Jack Innard scored in the left corner, Sam Morley slotting the extras.
That left Newcastle’s half-time lead standing at 28-7, the hosts starting the second half by stealing an Exeter line-out near their own try-line as the visitors kicked a penalty to the corner.
Another Exeter line-out in the same corner drew another blank when the Falcons turned over the driving maul, the increased physicality of the game seeing fewer clear chances as Newcastle continued to contest the breakdown ferociously.
Exeter grabbed their second try on 55 minutes when left wing Harry Strong collected a pass from Morley to score in the corner, Newcastle responding with a catch-and-drive try from Connor Collett down the right.
Swiel scored the sixth in quickfire fashion when Josh Hodge intercepted inside his own 22 and sped downfield, Swiel showing serious wheels to be on hand to collect the scoring pass.
Connon again sent over the conversion from the left touchline, Newcastle cutting loose for their next try as Hodge scored in the left corner from a move started by himself on halfway, collecting the ball back after a series of swift offloads.
There was time for one last try when Stuart sniped between the posts from a line-out in the right corner, Connon adding the extra two.
Newcastle Falcons A: 15 Tim Swiel, 14 Ben Stevenson, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Pedro Bettencourt, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart (captain); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Kyle Cooper, 3 Rodney Ah You, 4 Will Witty, 5 Glen Young, 6 Jamie Blamire, 7 Connor Collett, 8 Simon Uzokwe.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Conrad Cade, 18 Oscar Caudle, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Rob Farrar, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Tom Marshall, 23 Josh Hodge.
Falcons scorers - Tries: Ben Stevenson, Adam Radwan 2, George Wacokecoke, Connor Collett, Tim Swiel, Sam Stuart. Conversions: Brett Connon 7.
Exeter Braves: 15 Joe Snow, 14 Harry Strong, 13 Tom Hendrickson (captain), 12 Barry Karea, 11 James Short, 10 Sam Morley, 9 Sam Maunder; 1 Moray Low, 2 Jack Innard, 3 Marcus Street, 4 Toby Salmon, 5 Lewis Pearson, 6 Onehunga Havili, 7 James McRae, 8 Rus Tuima.
Replacements: 16 Max Norey, 17 James Kenny, 18 Alfie Petch, 19 Cory Teague, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Pierre Thompson, 22 Luke Mehson, 23 Charlie Davis.
Braves scorers - Tries: Jack Innard, Harry Strong. Conversions: Sam Morley.