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Gloucester cruise past Falcons

25 Sep 2004
Gloucester cruise past Falcons

A Kingsholm record 13,000 crowd guaranteed an intense, intimidating welcome for the Falcons, whose last victory on Gloucester soil came during their 1997-98 Premiership title-winning campaign.

Gloucester announced their intentions from the kick-off, gathering Jonny Wilkinson's kick-off and launching a superb forward drive back to the halfway line.

It was an immediate sign of things to come, and Gloucester's early territorial control produced an eighth-minute Henry Paul penalty.

But while Newcastle did not look unduly alarmed by that setback, they were rocked by two tries in five minutes from the home team.

Newcastle were their own worst enemies for the opening score. Having conceded a penalty, they then committed another offence which referee Ashley Rowden punished by marching them back another 10 metres.

With the Falcons unorganised, scrum-half Andy Gomarsall spotted space, kicked into the gap and before Newcastle could regroup, Marcel Garvey gathered and sprinted over.

Paul added the conversion, before Gloucester struck again on 18 minutes, capitalising on No.8 Adam Balding's clean lineout catch and driving the Falcons backwards for lock Alex Brown to touch down.

Wilkinson kicked three penalties during the second quarter, one from 50 metres, but further penalties from Paul and fly-half Duncan McRae ensured a comfortable 20-9 interval lead for the home side.

The Falcons made a lively start to the second period, appearing a much tighter unit than in the first half, and Gloucester, who lost hooker Olivier Azam through injury, had a game on their hands.

Wilkinson's fourth successful penalty, on 58 minutes, underlined the strength of a growing Newcastle revival.

Gloucester recovered their composure during the final quarter, with their forwards rekindling the earlier mood, turning the screw up-front and putting pressure on Wilkinson, who was at his most ordinary.

Still though, the home side were riddled by uncharacteristic errors, which frustrated efforts to make the game safe, but a Paul penalty seven minutes from time opened up a 24-12 advantage.

And Gloucester secured the victory just two minutes later when England wing James Simpson-Daniel intercepted Wilkinson's pass 30 metres out and sprinted to the line.

Paul converted to take his personal tally to 13.

Newcastle had the final say with a Michael Stephenson consolation effort, but it was far too little, too late.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:Tries: Brown, Daniel, Garvey   Cons: Paul 2   Pens: McRae, Paul 3  

For Newcastle Falcons:Tries: Stephenson Pens: Wilkinson 4

For more news, try out Gloucester Rugby v Newcastle Falcons

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