Newcastle Falcons shock Harlequins

Nili Latu will miss the first three months of the new season

Newcastle Falcons earned their second victory of the Aviva Premiership season by beating recent champions Harlequins 26-19 at Kingston Park.

The result moved Newcastle into 11th place in the standings and puts London Irish in 12th place and under pressure to remain up in the Premiership.

Although Newcastle won the game Harlequins outscored their hosts by three tries to two and the match was won by the boot thanks to the kicking skills of Craig Willis and Andy Goode as well as a try from Rob Vickers at the death.

The Falcons controlled much of the first half and deserved their 10-0 advantage after 30 minutes, given to them by Nili Latu’s converted try and Craig Willis’ penalty.

Quins reduced that deficit to three points in the final minute of the opening period when Charlie Walker touched down and then took the lead after the interval through Dave Ward.

Walker crossed the whitewash for the second time as the visitors appeared to take control, but Newcastle hit back via the boot of Andy Goode, who kicked three penalties to level matters at 19-19.

With plenty on the line, it was the hosts who seized the initiative and won the game through Vickers.

As in the previous two years, Dean Richards’ men have struggled to compete against the top teams in the Premiership, but their recent victory over Bath hinted at better times ahead.

Latu’s early try duly confirmed the Tynesiders’ improvement as a powerful drive sent the visitors into reverse gear and the flanker touched down.

Willis’ three-pointer following an Alex Tait line break increased the buffer before Conor O’Shea’s team finally gained a foothold in proceedings.

Excellent work from Ward took play into the Newcastle 22 and Walker sped over to bring the London-based outfit back into the contest at the break.

Harlequins then moved ahead for the first time in the match when Ward was the beneficiary of a dominant maul.

O’Shea’s side were now very much in the ascendency and a brilliant George Lowe run and off-load sent Walker clear. The wing managed to sidestep Falcons’ full-back Simon Hammersley to cross the whitewash and extend Quins’ advantage to 19-10.

Replacement stand-off Goode kicked the hosts back into contention with two quick-fire penalties before the former England international was on target for the third time to equalise.

Both teams searched for the winning score and it eventually came as the Falcons showed incredible patience to allow Vickers to power over from close range.

Final Score Newcastle Falcons 26 (10) Harlequins 19 (7)

Scorers

Newcastle Falcons
Tries – Latu, Vickers
Pen – Willis, Goode (3)
Con – Willis, Goode
Drop –

Harlequins
Tries – Walker (2), Ward
Pen –
Con – Evans (2)
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee :Luke Pearce (45th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Darren Gamage & Paul Burton.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

Newcastle Falcons

15 Simon Hammersley 14 Alex Tait 13 Chris Harris 12 Juan Pablo Socino 11 Giamba Venditti 10 Craig Willis 9 Michael Young 1 Rob Vickers 2 Scott Lawson 3 Taione Vea 4 Mark Wilson 5 Sean Robinson 6 Will Welch 7 Nili Latu 8 Ally Hogg

Replacements : 16 George McGuigan 17 Eric Fry 18 Paddy Ryan 19 Mouritz Botha 20 Richard Mayhew 21 Sonatane Takulua 22 Andy Goode 23 Adam Powell

Harlequins

15. Ross Chisholm , 14. Marland Yarde , 13. George Lowe , 12. Harry Sloan , 11. Charlie Walker , 10. Nick Evans (C) , 9. Tito Tebaldi, 8. Mat Luamanu , 7. Dave Ward , 6. Luke Wallace , 5. Charlie Matthews , 4. James Horwill, 3. Will Collier, 2. Rob Buchanan, 1. Mark Lambert

Replacements : 16. Joe Gray , 17. Owen Evans , 18. Kyle Sinckler , 19. George Merrick , 20. James Chisholm , 21. Calum Waters , 22. Ben Botica , 23. Tim Swiel

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