Ally Hogg and Alesana Tuilagi celebrate a try in the LV= Cup match against London Irish (Courtesy of Getty Images)

London Irish 13 - 31 Newcastle Falcons

Saturday 7 February 2015

NEWCASTLE Falcons ended their LV= Cup campaign with a five-try triumph at London Irish on Saturday.

Recording a try bonus point for a remarkable sixth game in succession, there was plenty of graft to go along with the flair.

The Falcons certainly had to work for their 14-6 half-time lead having trailed to an early pair of Myles Dorrian penalties, the former Bedford and Exeter fly-half making the most of a slow start as Newcastle eased into the game.

With neither side able to advance from the competition the blood-and-thunder of regular league rugby was never quite there, though the competition for places among the visiting contingent ensured no quarter was given.

That much was apparent when Dean Richards' side finally took control of proceedings on 22 minutes, the sin-binning of Exiles flanker Conor Gilsenan immediately followed by a try in the left corner.

Skipper Will Welch was the man to dot down as his side turned down a kickable three in favour of an attacking line-out, their driving maul unstoppable as it built up a head of steam.

Tom Catterick slotted the conversion from just inside the touchline to edge a one-point lead, which soon became eight.

That was when Sinoti Sinoti's counter-attack from just inside his own half ended with Simon Hammersley making an incisive break down the left, the full-back drawing the last man before feeding Alesana Tuilagi for a simple score.

Catterick again made the conversion look easy, his long-range penalty attempt falling just short as they went into the half-time break with a 14-6 lead to their name.

The second half further emphasised Newcastle's supremacy as Welch's midfield turnover and a period of pressure in the home 22 ended with Hogg pinching a try from the back of an overthrown line-out.

The Scot wasted little time in claiming his second, quick feet from Adam Powell and upper-body strength from centre partner Juan Pablo Socino keeping alive an attack which ended with Hogg grounding between the posts.

Catterick again applied the conversion, Newcastle's focus slipping just a fraction as they conceded a try down the short side to replacement Fergus Mulchrone.

But they still managed to finish the afternoon with a flourish, Samoan centre Jamie Helleur signalling his attention with a well-timed run down the left.

On that occasion the former Auckland man was felled just short, but there was no stopping him on 78 minutes when he scooted just inside the left touchline to apply the final touch to an impressive away win.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS: S Hammersley, S Sinoti (A Tait, 51), A Powell, JP Socino, Al Tuilagi (J Helleur, 61), T Catterick, M Blair (A Davies, 51); E Fry (R Vickers, 31), S Lawson (R Hawkins, 57), S Wilson (A Rogers, 61), C Green (D Barrow, 57), S MacLeod, M Wilson, W Welch (captain, R Mayhew, 71), A Hogg.

Falcons scorers – Tries: W Welch, Al Tuilagi, A Hogg 2, J Helleur. Conversions: T Catterick 2.

LONDON IRISH: T Homer, T Ojo (T Brophy-Clews, 61), E Sheridan, E Griffin (F Mulchrone, 56), J Short, M Dorrian, T O'Leary (D Allinson, 56); L Halavatau, J Stevens (M Mayhew, 56), H Aulika (R Palframan, 56), N Rouse (captain, D Lyons, 46), S Cox, K Low, C Gilsenan (O Curry, 65), D Leo.

Sin bin: C Gilsenan (22)

Irish scorers – Tries: F Mulchrone. Conversions: M Dorrian. Penalties: M Dorrian 2.

Referee: B Whitehouse (Wales). Attendance: 4,764.

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