Worcester 27 Falcons 13

Saturday 7 April 2018

Newcastle Falcons were on the wrong end of a second-half surge as they fell to an Aviva Premiership defeat against Worcester Warriors at Sixways on Saturday.

Leading 13-6 at the break, the Falcons conceded three tries without reply in a disappointing performance which leaves work to do in their quest for a Premiership semi-final spot.

Despite the opening passages of the game being played out almost exclusively around the half-way line the Falcons found themselves three points down in as many minutes, Chris Pennell pulling the driver out of the bag to smash over a penalty from 50 metres after a midfield indiscretion.

The full-back fired wide with an effort from marginally closer in on seven minutes, the Warriors increasingly dominating the territory as they kicked the corners and put pressure on the visitors’ set piece.

Newcastle finally began to show signs of attacking cohesion when Josh Matavesi whipped the ball wide left to Sinoti, Sam Lockwood offering support on the inside in a move which eventually fizzled out around the Warriors’ 22.

Worcester, too, were finding it difficult to convert their opportunities, winning a penalty but overthrowing a line-out in prime position in the left corner.

The sides were drawn level by the boot of Toby Flood on 23 minutes when the fly-half chipped over a simple penalty from in front on the 22, Worcester lying all over the wrong side of the ruck to prevent quick ball.

Flood’s second penalty from closer in put the Falcons in front for the first time on 27 minutes as the Warriors’ entire back line was blown for being offside, Newcastle almost grabbing the first try of the game when Sinoti pounced on a loose ball, play pulled back for a knock-on by Chris Harris in the tackle.

Worcester fired wide with a penalty from the centre spot when Pennell’s effort was right of its target, but the full-back levelled the scores on 37 minutes with a simpler effort from inside the 22.

Newcastle snatched a 13-6 interval lead with a very last play of the half, however, when breaks from Sinoti and Alex Tait down the left set the stage for Vereniki Goneva to cruise through for a try down the middle, converted by Flood.

It was Worcester who had the first attacking opportunity of the second period when Pennell knocked on in the act of scoring, Bryce Heem having put the full-back through a hole after a patient attack from a scrum 10 metres out.

Newcastle’s defensive patience and organisation was being tested to the full by a Worcester side determined to keep the ball in hand, but the wall of silver and green stood firm under the weight of pressure as the hour mark passed by with their seven-point lead still standing.

That was only by virtue of Pennell firing wide with a 40-metre penalty attempt from in front, but his side finally drew level on 64 minutes when they opted for a five-metre scrum from a penalty to the left of the posts, scoring a try down the right when David Denton reached out of the tackle.

Replacement Dorian Jones slotted the conversion from wide out, and did so again only three minutes later when Jackson Willison’s break down the middle enabled Nick Schonert to score down the right.

The Falcons turned to their bench in search of momentum during the closing 12 minutes, handing a Premiership debut to Adam Radwan, but the momentum failed to turn as the Warriors continued their sustained attack, denied a third try only when they once again knocked on in the act of scoring.

That third try duly emerged with three minutes to spare when Denton crossed for the second time down the right, Jones’ conversion completing the scoring.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva (Adam Radwan, 68), 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi (Dominic Waldouck, 70), 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood (Joel Hodgson, 55), 9 Sam Stuart; 1 Sam Lockwood (Rob Vickers, 68), 2 Kyle Cooper (Scott Lawson, 31), 3 Scott Wilson, 4 Calum Green, 5 Sean Robinson (Will Witty, 47), 6 Evan Olmstead, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Nili Latu (Callum Chick, 68).

Scorers - Tries: Vereniki Goneva. Conversions: Toby Flood. Penalties: Toby Flood 2.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Jackson Willison (Dean Hammond, 70), 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jamie Shillcock (Dorian Jones, 58), 9 Jonny Arr (Michael Dowsett, 43); 1 Ryan Bower, 2 Jack Singleton, 3 Nick Schonert (Gareth Milasinovich, 74), 4 Darren Barry (Andrew Kitchener, 53), 5 Will Spencer, 6 David Denton, 7 Sam Lewis (Marco Mama, 47), 8 GJ van Velze (captain).

Scorers - Tries: David Denton 2, Nick Schonert. Conversions: Dorian Jones 3. Penalties: Chris Pennell 2.

Referee: Christophe Ridley.

Worcester Warriors 27

Tries
Denton 63,76
Schonert 66

Conversions
Jones 64,67,77

Penalties
Pennell 3,37

Newcastle Falcons 13

Tries
Goneva 39

Conversions
Flood 40

Penalties
Flood 24,27

Worcester Warriors

Pennell, Heem, Te'o, Willison, Adams, Shillcock, Arr, Bower, Singleton, Schonert, Barry, Spencer, Denton, Lewis, van Velze

Replacements Haupt, Milasinovich, Kerrod, Kitchener, Mama, Dowsett, Jones, Hammond

Newcastle Falcons

Tait, Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti, Flood, Stuart, Lockwood, Cooper, Wilson, Green, Robinson, Olmstead, Welch, Latu

Replacements Lawson, Vickers, Davison, Witty, Chick, Hodgson, Waldouck, Radwan

referee: Christophe Ridley

assistant: Karl Dickson

assistant: Adam Leal

TMO: Stuart Terheege

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