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Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 26 Leicester Tigers 14

12 Feb 2016
Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 26 Leicester Tigers 14

Simon Hammersley and Adam Powell grabbed first-half tries as Newcastle Falcons completed their first Aviva Premiership Rugby victory over Leicester Tigers in almost seven years.

March 2009 was the last time Leicester tasted defeat against the Falcons – winning 11 straight league meetings since – and Alex Tait and Tom Croft were the only two to feature both on that day and on Friday night at Kingston Park.

Newcastle, who came so close to toppling Wasps on the road last weekend, opened up an 11-point lead at the break after tries from Hammersley and Powell.

They had caught cold a Leicester side low on confidence following their 10-3 defeat to Sale Sharks last time out, but the Tigers unsurprisingly staged a fightback.

Laurence Pearce appeared off the bench and dotted down midway through the second half, but a missed conversion left them nine points adrift of Newcastle.

And it was a gap Leicester would never bridge, as the Falcons climbed off the bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table in style.

Leicester opened the scoring after just four minutes, through the boot of Freddie Burns, before Andy Goode – facing a former club for the second time in as many weeks – missed an opportunity to level things up from the tee.

It was a cagey opening to proceedings, Tigers edging the possession without ever penetrating their hosts’ 22 and doubling their lead after a quarter of an hour, Burns from the tee once more.

However, it was just two minutes later that the first try arrived and it went to Newcastle, smart work from Tait in a slick build-up that saw the ball move from left to right, where it found Hammersley.

The Falcons full-back picked his gap to score and Goode added the extra points to see Newcastle nose in front at Kingston Park.

A third Burns penalty, this time from wide on the left, saw Leicester regain the advantage but Marcos Ayerza was soon pinged at the ruck and Goode made no mistake.

Another Goode penalty on the half-hour mark made it 13-9 but things were about to get even better for the Falcons.

Their pack showed great patience when camped on the Leicester line five minutes from the break and when the ball was recycled, Powell was free to cross over on the left and Goode converted – 20-9 at half-time.

Newcastle sought to earn themselves some added breathing space, Telusa Veainu clearing up a Goode chip before the Falcons fly-half saw a penalty slide wide of the uprights.

He didn’t make the same mistake five minutes later, however, when more Tigers ill-discipline allowed the former Leicester stand-off to make it 23-9.

Leicester began at last to assert some dominance on their hosts and, 15 minutes from time, they made a crucial breakthrough.

Pearce powered his way deep into Newcastle territory with an excellent break and a couple of phases later the ball was sent left for the back-rower to pile over, though Burns missed his extras.

The Falcons weren’t about to roll over and, as the heavens opened in the North East, Leicester found a brick wall standing between them and a second try.

That try would not come and Craig Willis knocked over a last-gasp penalty to wrap up a famous victory for Newcastle.

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