Valiant efforts come up short against Wasps
Newcastle Falcons Premiership Rugby 7s adventure ended at the semi-final stage in 2018, after loosing out to two late scores from Wasps.
The Falcons had fought their way back from 19-7 down to lead 19-24 by the midway point of the second half, but we’re unable to close out the game.
Day two of the competition was dramatic from the off, with a hard fought quarter final against Sale requiring extra time to determine who went through to the last four, in a finely balanced contest.
It was the Sharks who struck first with Paolo Odogwu crossing for a converted try after three minutes after a brace of penalties against Newcastle eased their passage upfield.
The Falcons cut the gap to two points following a passage of play that saw them patiently build their attacking platform, before unleashing their favoured weapon of Adam Radwan’s pace.
Falling a score behind on nine minutes, it was the Teessider who got his side back level with four minutes to go but a missed conversion saw sudden death extra time needed to settle the tie.
Making the early inroads, the Sharks were frustrated by solid Falcons defence before a superb counter attack gave Newcastle the points they needed.
Glen Young was the man to spark the move with a break through the midfield that created a gap for James Elliott to seal the golden score.
Having worked hard for that win, a slow start to the semi-final allowed Wasps to assume a 12-0 lead before Ben Stevenson got the Falcons into the board.
Repeatedly switching the angle of attack in the midfield, Wasps found themselves stretched with the gap exploited well by the centre.
It was a score that was nullified moments later as Wasps arced their way around for a third try, but that marked the start of a purple patch for Mark Laycock’s side.
First up, Zach Kibirige made a lightning quick break down he wing to set up Joel Matevasi for a converted try, before Young crashed over for an equaliser on the stroke of half time.
Having fought back to all square, the Falcons were ahead for the first time with just over four minutes left as a quickly taken penalty was worked through the hands and into the palms of Simon Uzokwe to touchdown.
Attempting to close he game out, a penalty gave Wasps the ball back and despite plenty good solid tackles halting their progress, there was ultimately one too many offloads that made it a two point game.
Needing to score, Newcastle threw everything into a final attack, but held on to the ball a fraction too long and from the resultant penalty, Wasps broke up the middle to seal their spot in the Final.