Newcastle secure vital London Irish victory

Newcastle Falcons kept their hopes of avoiding Aviva Premiership relegation with a 19-10 victory over London Irish at Kingston Park on Saturday.

The victory will be made even sweeter for the fourteen man Newcastle as relegation rivals London Wasps lost to Exeter Chiefs in what was their eighth consecutive Premiership loss.

Newcastle winger Ryan Shortland scored the Falcons only try of the match with Jimmy Gopperth kicking 14 points through three penalties, a conversion and a drop goal.

Jimmy Gopperth and Tom Homer demonstrated why they are two of the most reliable kickers in the Premiership by exchanging penalties early on.

But it was the visitors who scored the game’s first try, the 44th that Newcastle have conceded already this season. After the Falcons’ line-out was disrupted, Matt Garvey hacked the ball ahead and flying winger Sailosi Tagicakibau gathered and touched it down.

The league’s bottom club fought hard to get back into the game though and, after a period of sustained pressure, Gopperth took the opportunity to slot over a drop-goal and reduce the deficit to 10-6 at half-time.

Gopperth narrowed the gap even further early in the second half with another successful penalty attempt.

But Newcastle’s task was made even more difficult on the hour mark as South African lock Adriaan Fondse was given a straight red card.

Irish were unable to take advantage of the extra man though and Falcons’ Kiwi winger Ryan Shortland showed great opportunism to intercept a Delon Armitage pass and sprint half the length of the pitch to put his side 16-10 ahead.

With ten minutes remaining, Gopperth missed the chance to put the game beyond the visitors with a long-range penalty but he was given a second bite at the cherry moments later.

This time the New Zealander made no mistake and calmly slotted the ball between the posts to give Newcastle a vital win in their quest for survival.

Late yellow cards for Jon Golding and Richard Thorpe meant the game finished on a slightly sour note but the Falcons won’t mind too much as they held on to claw their way to within six points of safety.

More to follow.

Final Score Newcastle 19 (6) London Irish 10 (10)


Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Shortland
Penalties: Gopperth 3
Conversions: Gopperth
Drop-goals: Gopperth

London Irish
Tries: Tagicakibau
Penalties: Homer
Conversions: Homer

Referee: JP Doyle (37th Premiership game)



15 Greg Goosen, 14 Tom Bedford, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth (c), 9 Chris Pilgrim, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Euan Murray, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Ally Hogg , 7 Will Welch, 8 Mark Wilson

Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Jonny Golding, 18 Ashley Wells, 19 Andrew van der Heijden, 20 Taiasina Tu’ifua , 21 Will Chudley, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Ricki Sherrife

London Irish

15. Delon Armitage , 14. Tom Homer, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Jonathan Spratt , 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau , 10. Dan Bowden, 9. Darren Allinson, 1.Max Lahiff, 2. David Paice , 3. Faan Rautenbach , 4. Nick Kennedy (Captain), 5. Bryn Evans , 6. Matt Garvey, 7. Kieran Roche, 8. Richard Thorpe

Replacements: 16. James Buckland, 17. Clarke Dermody , 18. Paulica Ion , 19. Bob Casey , 20. Ed Siggery, 21. Marland Yarde, 22. Adrian Jarvis, 23. Paul Hodgson

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