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Match reaction Wasps 19-20 Newcastle Falcons

Match reaction Wasps 19-20 Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons are celebrating the emergence of the green shoots of recovery, having cut the gap on 11th-placed Worcester Warriors to three with a dramatic 20-19 victory at Wasps.

Brett Connon’s last-gasp penalty completed a rousing comeback for Dean Richards’ troops, who will bid to haul themselves from the foot of the table in Round 17.

Tane Takulua and Nemani Nagusa also scored second-half tries as Falcons did enough to rule the roost at the Ricoh Arena.

Man of the match

While Takulua, who bagged a try as well as slotting away a penalty and two conversions, produced a superb display, centurion Simon Hammersley was at the heart of Newcastle’s success.

The full-back marked his 100th appearance for the Falcons with a performance full of incision, Hammersley racking up a whopping 158 metres while embarking on 19 separate attacking runs to cause Wasps headaches all afternoon.

Try of the match

Newcastle went over twice in seven second-half minutes – and the latter score from Takulua was something to behold.

Nagusa got his team motoring as he scorched downfield, offloading to the supporting Hammersley, and Takulua arrived just in time to finish off a slick scoring move.

Moment of the match

When you keep your cool to tuck away an 82nd-minute penalty not long after entering the fray, it makes for something rather special.

Connon was introduced for Toby Flood with three minutes of normal time remaining and after his team had bravely carved out one final opportunity from the tee, the 22-year-old clinched his moment in the sun.

What they said

“Whether we deserved it or not is immaterial. With two minutes left and you have the ball, you have to see the game out,” said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

“That’s the frustrating factor for me. I’m not going to sit here and pretend we were far better than them because I don’t think we were.

“When you have that lead with two minutes to go, you have to see that game out. We failed to do that. We’ve been in that position twice lately. That’s what I’ve said to the players.

“We have to look at why they were in our 22 through our mistakes.”

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “You’re always in with a shout if you’re within a couple of points with a few minutes to go, especially if your carriers are then able to put you in the right positions and by getting over the gain-line on a consistent basis, so we thought we always had a chance of getting a try or a penalty.

“In the second half, we came out and held on to the ball much better, and as a result, we looked more dangerous than they did.

“Having said that, you’ve still got to take advantage of it and we fluffed a couple of chances which meant we left tries out there

“We need to realise that when that happens, we need to front up and make our tackles on the gain-line to stop their momentum.”

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