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Valiant Falcons beaten but not disgraced

By Leipziger
September 22 2013

 The sun shone on Welford Road for the Falcons’ first afternoon game of the new Premiership season, but it was Leicester who rode off with the points after a routine five-try win for the home side.

Led by Dean Richards on his first return to Leicester as Newcastle manager, our team displayed a lot of endeavor but in the end the greater class of a side that had three Lions on the bench showed in the second half, and had the Tigers needed another gear or two they probably would have found them.


While Leicester welcomed back Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and captain Toby Flood for their first games of the season, whereas the Falcons were without Scottish internationals Mike Blair and Scott MacLeod, though Ally Hogg was fit for the bench. Rory Clegg started alongside Warren Fury, and James Fitzpatrick and Chris York made rare appearances. Kieran Brookes started for his first Premiership club against his former team.


The Falcons took the ball early and probed around halfway but a loose pass by Fury set Leicester away towards the away 22. Leicester kicked a penalty into the corner, apparently having changed tactics in the last few years from kicking themselves out of range to getting the bonus point ASAP, and though the Falcons’ defence held initially across the pitch, Jordan Crane squeezed over on the far left to get the scoreboard ticking after just six minutes.

Toby Flood’s conversion flew past the post but Manu Tuilagi broke through the Falcons’ line soon after, running over Rory Clegg in the 22 like Jonah Lomu on Tony Underwood, and offloaded for Graham Kitchener, one of the star Tigers of the day, to get the second try. The conversion was easy for Flood.


Rory Clegg got Newcastle’s first points of the day with a penalty after Leicester defender came into a maul from the side.


A break by Dom Barrow set the Falcons on the forward foot again and from an attack just in front of goal, Clegg dropped a goal to reduce the deficit to six points. 12-6 with half an hour gone was an encouraging score.


However, just minutes later, full-back Blaine Scully scored a debut try with Tuilagi again instrumental by spooking the Falcons’ defence and handing the scoring pass.


To the dismay of some of the home fans among the 19,723 in attendance, the Tigers did not get the bonus point before half-time, but went straight on the attack after the break with the aim of securing a fifth point. A knock-on in the Falcons 22 gave the visitors a scrum and though the Leicester pack piled forwards, Chris York picked up and raced forward to halfway, though he was unable to outrun Scully to get on the end of his own chip.


The fourth try was not long in coming with the crafty Dan Bowden, the perfect counterfoil for Tuilagi’s power, taking a pass from Kitchener and easing through a gap in the defence. Flood shook off a late tackle from Kieran Brookes in the build-up, which earned the prop a yellow card, to convert.


The two teams began to make replacements with the result long since beyond doubt. While Leicester could bring on Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and David Mele, the Falcons’ replacements were not at the same level.


Only one more try was scored however, Thomas Waldrom bashing over for a score converted by Williams.


The Falcons went in search of a consolation try and Adam Thompstone was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on on the Falcons’ right as Noah Cato waited for the final pass in a flowing move, but it made no difference.


Substitute Alex Crockett almost got over but Bowden managed to knock the ball dead first from a kick through, giving the Falcons a penalty. Some visiting fans called for a penalty try as the TMO took his time on giving a decision, but to be fair Crockett was always behind the defender.


With Leicester having returned upfield, the Falcons put the ball out to save fitness and points difference, ending a game in which they gave a good account of themselves in terms of effort, but which showed that there are a few years of hard work ahead before Newcastle could get near Leicester’s standard.

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Valiant Falcons beaten but not disgraced (IP Logged)
22/09/2013 11:44
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: Valiant Falcons beaten but not disgraced
Stopsy (IP Logged)
23/09/2013 10:50
Many thanks

Re: Valiant Falcons beaten but not disgraced
aidanb (IP Logged)
23/09/2013 11:28
how did Fitzy play ?

Re: Valiant Falcons beaten but not disgraced
JohnSt (IP Logged)
24/09/2013 19:53
I thought Fitzy played well on a difficult day. Remember him dropping one but keeping hold of many more. Nor did he take a backward step.

On this showing I believe our forwards are significantly better than many packs I've seen so far this season. Our line out was improved on last weeks performance; we were just up against an even better lineout - particularly when Geoff P came on. Thought Mark W had another immense game, but the rest of the forwards were all impresive too. It might sound a little harsh but I think we need to nail more first up tackles than we did on Saturday. Rather them than me though against the likes of Tuilangi!
Joel made a difference when he came on. I can see us scoring tries - from forwards and backs. I'm still very optimistic about our season.

Re: Valiant Falcons beaten but not disgraced
corporalcarrot (IP Logged)
25/09/2013 15:53
There is absolutely no disgrace in losing to Tiggers - or for that matter Sarries, Quins or Saints - Falcons need to manage their expectations this year and build a team which will compete at the very top of the league in three or four years from now. We need to target points in the next three league matches where we can expect to play to our strengths and compete to win. If need be we should be willing to rest key players against the top four teams if we have a game the following week which we are really targetting to win. Jersey "rested" 5 first choice players when we visited KP last March and as a fan this gutted me as it was the game I most looked forward to the whole year but ultimately Jersey scrapped enough points in the following games to stay up. Falcons priority this year is to focus on the proving the bookies wrong and staying up.

Don't kick it pick it up and GO FORWARD

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