Newcastle Falcons’ Toby Flood in action

No wins for two months has left Newcastle Falcons mid table following four wins from five games in the month of September in the Aviva Premiership.

A narrow victory at the start of December over strugglers Northampton has seen a return to winning ways for the Falcons and leaves them eighth and level on points with Harlequins.

Defeats against teams above them have seen Dean Richards’ men struggle for form but favourable fixtures over the festive period could see Newcastle rise into the play-off places again.

September

The season kicked off in style for the Falcons as they eased past Worcester in a bonus point win at Kingston Park.

Newcastle took the lead after just five minutes as early territory and pack domination was rewarded from a line out on the 22 where the ball was spun out and Alex Tait hit a hard line to beat his man and cross the whitewash for the first try of the season.

Tries from Rob Vickers and Kyle Cooper proved the pack’s dominance and this was the case again in the following fixture. Newcastle scraped a Northern derby by a solitary point as a penalty try won by the forwards in a maul proved the difference against Sale. 12-13 to the Falcons was the final score.

A loss to European champions Saracens was merely a blip as Newcastle responded to that with back-to-back wins against Bath and London Irish.

A late surge from the Falcons saw them come from behind to edge a thriller at The Rec 32-33. The win was followed up by another victory, this time against London Irish, with a brace from winger Vereniki Goneva and a high-intensity performance in front of a packed house at Kingston Park.

 

October

However, Newcastle’s flying start to the season was about to change when the Falcons had to travel to last season’s champions Exeter. Despite getting the bonus point the Falcons were unable to match the speed with which Exeter played at with two tries coming from breaking away from the ruck and a scrum.

A twenty-point loss in front of a sell-out home crowd wasn’t the response Dean Richards was looking for as Newcastle were unable to match a Leicester side boasting an array of international talent for quality or power, and the Tigers out-scored the Falcons on tries, conversions and penalties.

 

November

Things were not about to get any better for the Falcons in the month of November as they faced a tough assignment down in Coventry to face a Wasps side who lost out in last year’s final and had most of their star players fit.

Former Newcastle man Jimmy Gopperth, who was last year’s player’s player of the year, came back to haunt his old club making five out of six conversions and producing key passes in two of Wasps’ tries. The home side saw off the Falcons 40-10 for a comfortable victory.

Things weren’t getting any easier for Newcastle as they welcomed Gloucester to Kingston Park. The Cherry and Whites, having a strong season themselves, proved worthy of their second-place standing. Strong in defence and clinical on the attack meant that for all the possession in the world Newcastle were left frustrated as their opponents left Kingston Park with a 7-29 bonus point victory.

December

December saw Newcastle travel to Midlands side Northampton, who had England captain Dylan Hartley starting at hooker for them. The tightest of finishes saw substitute Nili Latu take a crash ball over the line from close range after the 80 minutes were up and Takulua’s conversion meant Dean Richards’ men secured a 22-24 victory.

Newcastle have two more Premiership games left in December, at home to a Harlequins side they are level on points with.

Then away to London Irish who the Falcons have already beaten. Newcastle will be looking to get back into the form that saw them fly high in the league back in September.