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Gopperth guns down Gloucester

21 Nov 2010
Gopperth guns down Gloucester

Gloucester’s winning streak came to an end in pouring rain at Kingston Park, with Jimmy Gopperth kicking all of the home side’s points and Freddie Burns responding twice for the visitors.

An offside in the second minute gave Gopperth a penalty opportunity 30 metres out and the Falcons fly-half made no mistake, but neither side were able to establish a pattern of play in the opening exchanges.

Newcastle's next opportunity came from a Mickey Young tap penalty on 12 minutes, the scrum-half making 25 metres before releasing the backs. Gcobani Bobo took the final pass but was forced into touch just short of the flag.

When Gloucester chose to run it from the scrum they were immediately in trouble and infringed in front of their posts, giving Gopperth a simple task to make it 6-0.

After 20 minutes the Newcastle line was subjected to tremendous pressure by the visitors' pack and at three successive scrums the Falcons were adjudged to have infringed in the front row. However, at the fourth attempt it was the Gloucester forwards who were penalised and Newcastle finally broke clear.

Luke Fielden secured possession to set up another Newcastle raid which eventually fizzled out on the Gloucester 22, but the home side were then disrupted by an enforced double substitution, losing prop forward Tim Ryan and winger Charlie Amesbury to injuries.

With the interval approaching, Young put up a high ball into the 22 which Gloucester fumbled and were then penalised at the ruck. Gopperth had no difficulty with his third attempt to put Newcastle 9-0 ahead at the break.

Newcastle quickly grabbed the initiative after the restart, forcing two line-outs near the Gloucester line. Both times the visitors cleared comfortably, but when Newcastle's Jeremy Manning returned a kick with interest the ball was fumbled and a penalty awarded. Gopperth's kick was his easiest so far and made it 12-0.

Gloucester finally got on the scoreboard after 50 minutes with a similar effort, the Falcons going over the top at a ruck and Burns reducing the deficit. A chip ahead from Tim Taylor was then chased through by Burns but the full-back was beaten to the touch by Fielden, the Newcastle man crashing into the advertising boards and requiring treatment.

At the other end the ball fell kindly for Gopperth on the 22 but his drop-goal attempt drifted narrowly wide. Play swung back to the other 22, Newcastle handed in a ruck and Burns was able to narrow the gap to 12-6 from 30 metres.

Gloucester piled on the pressure and, having won a kickable penalty, elected to go for the line-out, Burns finding touch near the flag. Newcastle did well to secure the throw and clear their lines, holding on for their second win of the season.

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