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Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 35 Sale Sharks 30

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 35 Sale Sharks 30

Newcastle Falcons moved into the top three of the Aviva Premiership Rugby as they saw off a spirited Sale Sharks comeback at Kingston Park on Friday night.

The hosts raced into a 25-point lead in the first half, only for Sale to hit back in the second half and push Falcons all the way.

It took a try in the last minute by veteran Rob Vickers to seal the victory on a dramatic night in the North East.

Man of the Match

Gary Graham put in an outstanding performance at Kingston Park, making 66 metres and 16 tackles throughout the tightly contested battle.

The 25-year-old flanker scored Newcastle’s second try, picking up the ball and diving over after Will Welch fell short.

Graham was only one of many that stood out throughout the enthralling game but he thoroughly deserved the man-of-the-match award for his hard work.

Moment of the Match

The back-and-forth continued throughout the second half and Sale looked to have the advantage as brothers Luke and Sam James combined to get behind the Falcons’ defence.

The latter brilliantly offloaded to Marlon Yarde who dotted down and AJ MacGinty’s conversion saw the visitors lead 27-25 with 20 minutes to play.

Try of the Match

The winning try has to be the best of the night purely because of its significance, as it propelled the Falcons into third in the Aviva Premiership table.

Falcons worked their way into the Sharks 22 for just the second time in the second 40 in the final minutes and Rob Vickers bundled his way over from close range to seal the win.

The 36-year-old prop muscled his way over the line as the clock ticked red and he leapt up with a roar having won the game for his team.

What They Said

Man of the match Gary Graham said: “We made it tough at times, Sale came down in really good form on a winning streak, credit to the boys to go out and win that game there.

“We said at half time that we gave them too much territory, but we came out fighting, we said that we just had to throw everything at them in the first ten minutes and see what happens, then we kept them out.

“When we were playing well we were just doing basics very well, we were trying too hard at times so we just stripped it back to make it easy.

“We’re taking each week as it comes, we’ve still got big games ahead of us – we’ve got Wasps and Leicester – so we’ll just keep plugging away and see what happens.”

Sale Sharks head coach Steve Diamond said: “I thought we just didn’t close the game out, we didn’t start particularly well as anybody  could see.

“Things happen but a few tries before half time got us back in the game and then we took control of it for probably 35 minutes of the second half.

“We just lacked those killer instincts to win the game, we lost at Bath very similar and we lost against Exeter very similar so we’ll learn from it – good game of rugby to watch for all concerned.

“I’m really proud of the lads, they put in a great shift after the first 20 minutes, but you can’t afford to give sides, certainly not top four sides, a 25 points head-start.

“Top four dream is over now I think, we’ve got to go to Exeter and we’ve got a last round, so we’ll be combative and have a go.”

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