With no live rugby to report on we have opened the club archives to bring you some ‘Throwback Thursday’ classics, which will become a new weekly feature during the ongoing down time.
First up is a big one – literally – as we hark back just a single year to the second ever ‘Big One’ at St James’ Park.
Sale Sharks were the Gallagher Premiership visitors on Saturday March 23, 2019, with a crowd of 27,284 supporters witnessing a 22-17 Newcastle victory over their northern rivals.
The early prospects had seemed slim for the Falcons as they went behind to a Denny Solomona try in the right corner from a Tom Curry offload – Faf de Klerk converting and adding a penalty for a 10-0 lead.
Sonatane Takulua chipped three back with a penalty, and even when the Falcons were reduced to 14 men through Logovi’i Mulipola’s sin-binning they maintained the pressure, Andrew Davidson having a try turned down by the TMO after a lengthy deliberation from a charged-down clearance.
Takulua’s second penalty narrowed Sale’s advantage to 10-6 at half-time, and the tables turned even further after the resumption when Newcastle United fan Toby Flood wriggled over for a try in front of a well-populated Gallowgate End.
Takulua converted and added a further three penalties with Ben Curry in the sin bin, Byron McGuigan responding with a try for the Sharks to add late drama.
Newcastle ended the game camped near their own line, Takulua finally kicking the ball dead and collapsing into an emotional heap on the field after a physically and mentally draining performance.
A delighted Dean Richards had nothing but praise for his troops and their vocal followers during his post-match press conference, the director of rugby saying: “We enjoy playing here at St James’ Park, the noise level is through the roof and that result today was dedicated to our supporters.
“They give us such great backing all throughout the year, they turned out in their numbers today and were incredibly supportive of the boys. They were unbelievable – absolutely unbelievable.”
The teams that day were:
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Sam Lockwood, 2 George McGuigan (Kyle Cooper, 68), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola (David Wilson, 68), 4 Calum Green, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Gary Graham, 7 John Hardie, 8 Mark Wilson (captain, Callum Chick, 73).
Falcons scorers - Tries: Toby Flood. Conversions: Sonatane Takulua. Penalties: Sonatane Takulua 4.
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 James O’Connor (Cameron Redpath, 26), 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Sam James, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Ross Harrison (Tom Bristow, 68), 2 Rob Webber (Curtis Langdon, 65), 3 WillGriff John (Joe Jones, 68), 4 Josh Beaumont, 5 James Phillips (Bryn Evans, 60), 6 Tom Curry (Cameron Neild, 65), 7 Ben Curry, 8 Jono Ross (captain).
Sale scorers - Tries: Denny Solomona, Byron McGuigan. Conversions: Faf de Klerk 2. Penalties: Faf de Klerk.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys. Attendance: 27,284.