Newcastle Falcons rounded off their LV= Cup campaign with a resounding 29-0 triumph over Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park on Friday night.
The result breathes fresh momentum for Dean Richards’ men ahead of their trip to Bath Rugby next weekend in the Aviva Premiership.
Mark Wilson led the Falcons out on his 100th appearance, and the Cumbrian back-row marked the occasion in emphatic style, scoring two tries in a man-of-the-match performance.
The scoring began as early as the seventh minute when Phil Godman sliced through the Dragons’ defensive line to touchdown under the posts. Alex Tait’s sublime kick for touch from halfway with a penalty earned the hosts perfect field position, and after claiming clean ball at the lineout the ball was shifted infield to the Scottish fly-half whose dummy bamboozled the opposition’s rear-guard to create the opening for the score. Godman converted his own try for the early advantage.
The Falcons doubled their try-scoring tally for the evening midway through the first period with Mark Wilson scoring the first of his two tries. Samoan flyer Sinoti Sinoti broke clear down the nearside before feeding the Kendal-born back-row to cross in the corner despite the desperate efforts of visiting full-back Dan Evans. Godman failed with the touchline conversion and the hosts were in the ascendancy at 12-0.
Newcastle continued to press forward in attack, and despite the blustery conditions coupled with a boggy surface, they were showing real ambition with ball in hand to the delight of the majority of the Kingston Park crowd. Debutant Argentinian Gonzalo Tiesi and Adam Powell looked assured in the centres and were providing wingers Sinoti and Noah Cato with the ammunition out wide. A third try looked likely in the shape of those players in question, but it was centurion Wilson who grabbed the limelight once more, crossing in the corner to bag his brace for the night. The likes of skipper Will Welch and the returning Dom Barrow trundled the ball up strongly before the ball was moved to the blindside for the try. Godman executed the extras to perfection to make it 19-0. And on the stroke of half-time Godman added gloss to the scoreline with a penalty to increase the margin to 22-0 going into the interval.
The Welsh outfit made a bright start to proceedings after the break, pinning the northeasterners on their own line in the opening exchanges. Matt Thompson was sin-binned for persistent infringement as the pressure began to take its toll. However, from the resulting penalty the Falcons held out to win the penalty and Tait cleared the ball up-field.
On 57 minutes Lyn Jones’ side were reduced to 14-men when Dragons replacement flanker Nic Cudd was sent-off barely a minute after his introduction. A tip tackle on Powell gave referee Dan Jones no option but to pull out the red card.
To their credit, the Welsh club stood firm despite being a man light and kept the Falcons at bay until the 78th minute when Fraser McKenzie secured the try bonus point. Following a series of carries from the Newcastle heavies which had the Dragons on the back-foot, McKenzie took a flat pass on the charge to scurry in for the try. Rory Clegg took over the kicking duties to convert to ensure a 29-0 triumph.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Warren Fury, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Dom Barrow, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 6 Will Welch (c), 7 Andy Saull, 8 Mark Wilson
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Franck Montanella, 18 Gary Strain, 19 Scott MacLeod, 20 Chris York, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Jamie Helleur
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Jonathan Evans, 1 Nathan Williams, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 3 Francisco Chaparro, 4 Matthew Screech, 5 Rob Sidoli (c), 6 Jevon Groves, 7 Darren Waters, 8 Ieuan Jones
Replacements: 16 T. Rhys Thomas, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Dan Way, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Ashley Smith
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)