A youthful Newcastle squad make it all the way to the finals in their first contesting of the World Club 10s
Newcastle Falcons first foray to the Beachcomber World Cup 10s took them all the way to the final of the Cup competition last weekend, as a young Falcons side put in a strong performance throughout the three days of action in Mauritius.
Invited to take part for the first time, the team’s campaign saw the assembled players put in a superb effort throughout and only lose out to defending champions Vodacom Bulls with the very last play in a keenly contested final.
Kicking off on Friday afternoon, the Falcons first fixture pitched them against French invitational squad Tsunami Pyrenees and ended in a 19 all draw, which would later be awarded as a win to the Falcons after their opponents failed to take a player off the field following a sin-binning.
Saturday’s action began with a draw against Montpellier before a superb 24-14 win over Kobe Steelers secured the Falcons passage into the quarter-finals of the main competition and a tie against the African Pacific Dragons.
Overcoming that test with their biggest win of the tournament with a 31-14 triumph, a rematch against Tsunami Pyrenees ended in 21-12 win that set up the clash with the side from South Africa.
Going behind to an early try from Andrew Cotter, the Falcons were back level with just under five minutes gone, as Sam Stuart and Ally Hogg combined well in midfield before the Scottish veteran released Adam Radwan for a well-worked try.
Jamie Blamire allowed the Falcons to take the lead on the cusp of half-time, as the senior academy hooker choose a superb support line to finish of a sharp break from Zach Kibirige, before extending that advantage further in the opening phases of the second period.
Following a purposeful break through the Bulls line by Connor Collett, the Falcons established a foothold close to their opponents’ line, one that was capitalised on by Tom Penny who made good use of an excellent ball from Cameron Cowell.
A sustained move featuring plenty of offloads and powerful surges allowed Cameron Hufke to bring his side within one score, though there was more than an air of forward travel in the final pass, before an offload that couldn’t connect with its intended recipient allowed the South Africans to make it 17 with three minutes to play.
Retaining possession and recycling the ball as had been a keystone of their campaign, the Falcons survived being turned over close to their line with less than a minute to go as they forced a handling error from the Bulls and attempted to break away upfield.
Spinning the ball out to Radwan, the winger accelerated hard down the right touchline and attempted to keep the run going with a pass inside to Cowell, however, it was a pass the fullback was unable to gather and was instead scooped up for the Bulls to run in the winning try.
Whilst it proved an agonising end to an exciting and exotic competition the aim of using the World Club 10s as an integral part of a strong pre-season was certainly achieved, with the squad earning plenty of plaudits in respect of their play and conduct around the event.
The next on-field action in pre-season for Newcastle Falcons now comes on the weekend of July 27/28 in the Premiership Rugby 7s series at Franklins Gardens.