Falcons beat Gloucester to make A-League semis

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Newcastle Falcons booked themselves a place in the semi-finals of the Aviva A-League thanks to Monday’s 24-15 win at Gloucester.

Tom Penny’s last-minute score landed the Falcons a four-try bonus point at Kingsholm and denied Gloucester the losing bonus, the upshot being that Newcastle’s place in the last four is now secure.

The opposition and home advantage for the knock-out rounds are yet to be confirmed due to outstanding matches elsewhere in the competition, Newcastle battling back from 12-7 down at half-time to earn their place in the final four.

Skills coach Mark Laycock said: “We were delighted to have gone down to Gloucester, knowing what we had to do, and getting the job done. The boys delivered, albeit it quite late in the game, but the pressure was on us and we came through it.

“It was well-earned because we had to work hard. Going to Gloucester is never easy, especially there and back in a day, but there were loads of positives and we showed a lot of character.”

The Falcons rallied from two tries down, Laycock saying: “It was a fractious game with lots of turnovers. We lost our captain Richard Mayhew to a groin injury after five minutes and had Callum Chick sin-binned after 15, but we battled back.

“Gloucester were a try up and we had a line-out right next to their line, we threw an interception and they went 95 metres to score. But Andy Tuilagi barrelled over for our first try from close range, which left us 12-7 down at half-time. We had the wind at our backs for the second half, they scored a penalty to go 15-7 up but we began to dominate in the last 20 to 25 minutes.”

Kenyan international back-row Joshua Chisanga made an impact on his club debut, Laycock explaining: “Josh came on from the bench and scored tries with his first two touches, both from line-outs, and we scored the decisive try with the final play through Tom Penny.

“Dan Marshall intercepted a Gloucester pass, Dan Temm went round their tight-head prop and after a couple of offloads to supporting players Tom scored in the corner for an end-to-end play. That gave us the bonus point, but it was more a case of denying Gloucester the bonus point in terms of cementing our semi-final qualification.”

Among the many positives to emerge from the afternoon was the return to fitness of experienced Argentinean international Gonzalo Tiesi, who came through a full game in the centres.

Laycock said: “Gonzalo played his first game for 10 months and got through a full 80 minutes, which was a great effort. Kensuke Hatakeyama and Ben Harris got through a lot of work at prop, Seb Ferreira did well when he came on and a lot of boys who haven’t played much rugby recently did a really good job. Darcy Graham looked lively at fullback when he came on and would have had a try, only for a tap tackle near the line, and all in all it was a great effort from the lads.”

NEWCASTLE FALCONS ‘A’

15 Brett Connon

14 Tom Penny

13 Gonzalo Tiesi

12 Andy Tuilagi

11 Alesana Tuilagi

10 Tom Catterick

9 Ruki Tipuna

1 Ben Harris

2 David Nelson

3 Kensuke Hatakeyama

4 Will Witty

5 Harry Snowdon

6 Richard Mayhew (captain)

7 Dan Temm

8 Callum Chick

REPLACEMENTS

16 Santiago Socino

17 Eric Fry

18 Andrew Foster

19 Seb Ferreira

20 Joshua Chisanga

21 Ruaridh Dawson

22 Dan Marshall

23 Darcy Graham

GLOUCESTER

15 Lloyd Evans

14 Ollie Thorley

13 Elliott Creed

12 Luke Eves

11 Harry Robinson

10 Mat Protheroe

9 Callum Braley (captain)

1 Nick Wood

2 Luke Cole

3 Nicky Thomas

4 Alex Craig

5 Tom Hicks

6 Lewis Ludlow

7 Dan Thomas

8 Harry Wilson

Replacements

16 Joe Mullis

17 James Gibbons

18 Josh McNulty

19 Seb Mummery

20 Mike Luxton

21 Harry Randall

22 Mason Tonks

23 Tom Seabrook

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