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Gloucester destroy Falcons

18 May 2002

As well as comprehensive defeat, there was further bad news for Newcastle with skipper Jonny Wilkinson suffering what looked like a serious leg injury in the first 15 minutes of the match.

After being carried off the field, the England No.10 went directly to hospital for X-rays on the injury and Newcastle badly missed the authority of their main playmaker for the rest of the match.

A pumped-up Gloucester side – no doubt buoyed by the vocal support of the home crowd – made life very unpleasant for the visitors, showing superiority in all phases of play.

While Newcastle battled hard, the excellent platform provided by the Gloucester pack ensured plentiful possession was enjoyed by the backline – and they certainly made use of it.

The Falcons were seemingly powerless to stop the cherry-and-white tide sweeping over them and, indeed, were lucky not to concede more than nine tries.

The pick of Gloucester’s tries was probably a brilliant skipper’s score by barnstorming prop Phil Vickery in the second half, the newly-appointed England skipper scoring a long-range effort from 25 metres, beating two Newcastle tacklers to crash over in the corner.

But there was also a hint that former New Zealand Rugby League star Henry Paul’s switch to No.15 is reaping dividends, the fullback showing some mesmerising footwork to score under the posts in the final quarter of the match.

Gloucester are now through to the semi-final of the Championship and, on this sort of form, would be a fair bet to take the title.


Gloucester: Tries: Tom Beim, Terry Fanolua, James Forrester, Ludovic Mercier, Daren O’Leary, Junior Paramore, Henry Paul, Robert Todd, Phil Vickery. Cons: Ludovic Mercier (4), Henry Paul (2)Pen: Ludovic Mercier

Newcastle Falcons:Pens: Dave Walder (3)

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