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Falcons fade after fighting first forty

By Leipziger
September 19 2015

A valiant effort from the Falcons was not enough to secure a first win at Welford Road for more than seventeen years, but offers encouragement for the season to come.

Three tries apiece in the first half saw the break score level at 19-19 before Leicester pulled away in the second period.


The first away trip of the season is always exciting and I had plenty of drama on the drive south. I got lost in Stoke, took a wrong turn in Leicester and almost ended up back on the M1, couldn't get the car to start temporarily in Sainsbury's car park, and then thought I'd popped a tyre in the park+ride.


Don't you love away trips?!


In the end I was at Welford Road by 1pm to watch the second half of Tonga v Georgia in a pub.


That second half seemed to take forever to start!


After Nili Latu and Tane Takulua's team had been beaten, it was off to Welford Road. The Falcons acquitted themselves well early on but Leicester scored with their first attack, Mathew Tait the scorer as the Tigers played simply from right to left and we ran out of defenders.


It looked like Leicester might take control but the Falcons had other ideas. From a break by Craig Willis, one of our stars of the day, the Falcons pounded on the home defence until George McGuigan forced his way over. Brett Connon converted to put us ahead.


The Falcons seemed in full control at this point and pinned Leicester back, probing for more points but too often running sideways or straight into defenders rather than finding space.


The second try did come though, Dan Temm sauntering into the far right corner almost in slow motion, and our lead was seven points!


The Tigers as always were still dangerous and centre Peter Betham beat Willis and Chris Harris to level the scores at 12-12.


Almost immediately though, Willis scored under the posts for another converted try that shocked the home crowd!


I've seen some dire Newcastle performances in Leicester but this was up there with the better ones!


Unfortunately, with the clock on zero for half-time, George Catchpole scored a copy of Tait's earlier try and Burns added the extras to send the teams into half-time level, nineteen points apiece.


The Falcons should really have been ahead at this point, having enjoyed by far the best of the territory and possession, though conceding on each of Leicester's three attacks.


Within seconds of the second forty starting, Leicester won a penalty on halfway and Burns sent the ball through the posts, maybe just to settle his side down with a small lead.


The hosts seemed more comfortable in the second half and had far more possession than previously.


The Falcons did break and attacked with a scrum and free kick on five metres, but a knock-on in front of line frustrated us.


Leicester finally pulled away with the bonus-point try following a big maul after Tom Penny was put in touch on the 22. The Tigers engineered a two-man overlap on the left and Mike Williams finished off, making the score 29-19.


Just before the hour, the Midlanders easily a maul over 15 metres in from the left touchline, and Harry Thacker scored the fifth home try. Burns again converted.


The game lost a bit of shape as replacements came and went. With ten minutes to go, Lachlan McCaffrey sets Burns away on halfway and got the crowd on their feet. Dan Temm made a try-saving tackle on five metres but in the ensuing play Richard Mayhew was shown a yellow card for a tackle off the ball.


To the Falcons' credit, they never gave up even in the dying minutes. It looked like we would nab a try bonus point when Willis put Jason Tali in near the posts. With the line gaping, the big trialist looked over both shoulders but did not seem to be running full-pelt, and he was duly tackled by McCaffrey.


A frustrating end to a game that had promised so much!


So we lost 36-19 in the end, after an excellent first half but a difficult second period when the Tigers lifted their game and their superior quality probably shone through.


There were some good performances from our team, notably the lively Willis and Penny, while Tali put in some good metres before missing out on a late try. Ruki Tipuna again gave a lot of fast service and was rarely far away from where he needed to be.


Mayhew, Green and McGuigan were probably the pick of the starting forwards for me, all giving us plenty going forward.


A good exercise, there was plenty for our coaches to be encouraged by and there's plenty to work on. The result doesn't really matter at the end of the day, but what a morale-booster a win today could have been!!

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Falcons fade after fighting first forty (IP Logged)
19/09/2015 21:22
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Re: Falcons fade after fighting first forty
Stopsy (IP Logged)
20/09/2015 09:39
Thanks Leipziger, I hope your trip home was uneventful.

Re: Falcons fade after fighting first forty
Kwa444 (IP Logged)
20/09/2015 10:43
To be honest - when we break our Welford Road run, I'd rather it was in a game that counts. Always good for a side to be competitive though as it makes the possibility of a win seem believable.

Hopefully the Falcons will take something from Japan's win yesterday when playing at Welford Road, Sarries, Saints and Bath in future.

We play the game because the result is not a foregone conclusion!

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