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Newcastle Falcons 39 Sale Sharks 19

01 Feb 2015
Newcastle Falcons 39 Sale Sharks 19

Winger Lee Smith twice crossed the whitewash as Newcastle Falcons recorded their first LV= Cup victory of the campaign in style at the expense of Sale Sharks.

The Falcons lost to Northampton Saints and Cardiff Blues in their opening two fixtures of the competition but never looked likely to suffer the same fate at Kingston Park this time around.

Alex Rogers, Smith’s first score, Uili Kolo’ofai and Josh Furno ensured the four-try bonus point was wrapped up before half-time for the home side.

Smith went over again in a more low-key second period before Viliami Fihaki notched a Sale consolation late on to make the final scoreline 39-19.

The result means that both sides have one win and two losses in this season’s LV= Cup and can no longer qualify for the knockout stages.

Sale defended an early Newcastle attack and were the first team on the scoreboard after five minutes, when Joe Ford nailed a penalty following a ruck infringement.

But the Falcons hit back in style and after Rory Clegg punted a kickable penalty into the corner, a powerful rolling maul from the resulting line-out ended with prop Rogers touching down.

Clegg nailed the conversion before Ford remained perfect from the tee with back-to-back penalties to give the Sharks a 9-7 advantage – their last lead of the day.

Italian international Furno looked set to restore the home side’s advantage when he used his considerable power to crash over the whitewash but knocked on before grounding the ball.

However, Furno’s blushes were spared on 25 minutes when a beautiful offload from Alex Tait, released Smith who dotted down in the corner.

Clegg failed to add the extras but soon had a chance to redeem himself when Falcons notched their third try of the game through Kolo’ofai.

Anitelea Tuilagi hammered away at the Sale defence following an attacking line-out and No. 8 Kolo’ofai took advantage to notch the five-pointer.

Clegg made no mistake from the tee this time around before Ford slotted his fourth penalty to close the gap to 19-12.

And there was time for one more score before half-time as Newcastle wrapped up the four-try bonus point through Furno.

Ford was sent to the sin-bin and the Falcons kicked to the corner allowing Furno to touch down at the back of the driving maul from the line-out.

After the interval, Clegg extended the Falcons’ lead to 32-12 with two penalties, one of which followed a George Nott yellow card, as the game began to peter out following the frenetic first period.

However, Smith livened things up with his second try of the day as the winger used some quick-thinking to tap-and-go from a penalty and dart over.

Replacement kicker Phil Godman duly added the conversion but Sale restored some pride with eight minutes remaining.

The Sharks pack demonstrated their power to produce a great shove and No.8 Fihaki picked up from the back of the scrum to dot down.

Nick MacLeod slotted the extras and although Tom Brady almost scored a late try for the Sharks, he was ruled to be in touch as the game ended 39-19 to the hosts.

Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.

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