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Falcons defend well but achieve nothing

By Leipziger
November 24 2013

 Yesterday saw both sides of Newcastle Falcons, with a massive defensive effort keeping Northampton down to eighteen points but a toothless attack meaning that none were scored in response.

Two controversial second-half tries ensured that Saints beat the Falcons for the seventh successive time, and while the away side were not disgraced and will see some positives, there will also be a realisation that this proved again how far they are away from the very top elite in English rugby.


Noah Cato returned to Franklin’s Gardens for the first time in a Newcastle shirt, Dean Richards pairing Scots Phil Godman and Mike Blair at half-back and bringing Scott Lawson and Oliver Tomaszczyk back into the front row. Jim Mallinder had England stars Ben Foden, Lee Dickson and Courtney Lawes back from international duty.


Tom Collins almost opened the scoring for the home side in the first couple of minutes with a long run down the left but Ryan Shortland came across and tackled the young winger into touch just metres from the tryline. Northampton piled on the pressure and sent their penalties to the corners in the search for early tries and the bonus point that the home crowd were expecting, but the away defence held firm and the referee kept his hands out of his pockets.


The Falcons’ first serious attack came from Carlo del Fava giving a pass to Cato on the right, but the former Saints’ winger was tackled with the line beckoning to the disappointment of the shouting away fans.


The Saints went back on the back on the attack and when del Fava was penalised on the right, Dean ‘Referee’ Richards lost patience and showed a yellow card. The home side decided to get the scoreline ticking and Stephen Myler kicked over a simple penalty.


Mike Blair, who had a tricky day up against the outstanding Lee Dickson, almost sent the travelling supporters into raptures with a break through the middle into the 22, but dropped out of top speed towards the left corner in looking around for support that was not there, and was tackled.


Myler added insult to injury with his second penalty before the break.


Ben Foden was closed to opening the scoring after the break with a race down the right and had to be tackled into touch by Cato and Alex Tait, who both defended fantastically all day. However, the first try came down the same wing as Jamie Elliott offloaded to James Wilson on the right and the eventual man-of-the-match broke through the last tackle on the line to roll over and touch down.


The referee went to the TMO to check the grounding, which should not have been in dispute, but not an earlier pass that had looked to have gone forward.


Myler’s conversion missed, but the home side and the majority of the Franklin’s Gardens crowd now had their tails up. The second try came from a comedy of errors from both sides in the Falcons 22, with passes going loose and finally Rob Vickers was driven back by the Saints and Luther Burrell got his fingertips to the loose ball slightly over the line. After more than four minutes of deliberation, in which fans became restless and the announcer suggested that Strictly had been delayed by ten minutes, the TMO pleased the home supporters and left away fans confused by awarding a try.


Myler added the conversion and any chance of even a bonus point was gone for the Falcons.


Warren Fury and Scott MacLeod added some spark to the Newcastle game and in the final ten minutes they found some spirit. It was not enough to produce a try though and the Saints held firm, a clean sheet providing some consolation for their failure to get the bonus point.

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Falcons defend well but achieve nothing (IP Logged)
24/11/2013 20:31
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