Planet Rugby

Gopperth's misses prove costly

06th September 2009 17:14

Share:

Jimmy Gopperth v Leeds

Jimmy Gopperth: A mixed debut

Jimmy Gopperth missed four penalty attempts on his Newcastle debut as Leeds Carnegie claimed a 9-9 draw on their return to the Guinness Premiership.

The highly-rated New Zealander, 26, has been tasked with filling Jonny Wilkinson's kicking role following the England fly-half's move to Toulon.

Yet Gopperth failed to match Wilkinson's accuracy with the boot as he converted only three of seven penalty kicks in a bitterly disappointing encounter which saw precious little freeflowing rugby.

All of Leeds' points came from the boot of fly-half Ceiron Thomas, who landed three penalties of his own but still managed to miss two, and despite a late rally the Yorkshire side could not conjure a precious victory.

There has been much change at both clubs during the summer with Newcastle having allowed 25 players to leave and brought in 18 new ones.

Five of their new recruits - Gopperth, Gcobani Bobo, James Hudson and former Leeds pair Rob Vickerman and Tom Biggs - were handed starting roles.

Gopperth, despite his failings with the boot, showed enough glimpses of quality to suggest he is capable of making a positive impact on the Premiership this season.

The Kiwi looked to orchestrate affairs at every opportunity during the opening exchanges and illustrated his class with a stream of probing kicks.

He missed a penalty in the second minute but moments later then Falcons drove at the heart of the Leeds defence in a fine move which almost harvested a try.

Bobo broke from halfway and embarked on a fine run down the left flank and, although his progress was halted, Biggs collected possession 20 metres out.

He spotted Gopperth in support to his right but his pass was wayward and the opportunity spurned.

Gopperth did get the visitors off the mark with a routine penalty soon after and, with the Falcons superior up front, Leeds initially looked to be there for the taking.

Yet Leeds head coach Neil Back and his old Leicester team-mate Andy Key have fashioned a side with guts.

After Gopperth missed another penalty from distance, Leeds began to enjoy a brief bout of sustained pressure and Thomas landed a long-range penalty in the 23rd minute having missed one three minutes earlier.

Gopperth failed with the boot again in the 33rd minute and Thomas then did likewise in first-half injury-time to cap a thoroughly underwhelming opening period.

The pattern continued four minutes after the restart when Gopperth missed his fourth penalty from five attempts, yet Newcastle began to build up a head of steam.

A forward pass denied them a try in the 56th minute after they fashioned a fine move which stretched Leeds to breaking point down the left flank.

Gopperth claimed his second penalty on the hour mark and then Thomas did likewise four minutes later.

Gopperth struck again in the 69th minute to put Newcastle 9-6 ahead but Leeds drew level with six minutes remaining when Thomas landed his third penalty from five attempts.

The scorers:

For Leeds:
Pens: Thomas 3

For Newcastle:
Pens: Gopperth 3

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Jon Goodridge , 14 Richard Welding, 13 Jonny Hepworth, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Lee Blackett, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel (capt), 4 Phil Murphy, 3 Tommy McGee, 2 Vili Ma'asi, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Rob Rawlinson, 17 Alex Moreno, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Alfie To'oala, 20 Danny Paul, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Henry Paul, 23 Scott Armstrong.

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Danny Williams, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Gcobani Bobo, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Peter Browne, 7 Brent Wilson, 6 Adam Balding, 5 James Hudson, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Carl Hayman (capt), 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Laurence Ovens, 18 Micky Ward, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Ed Williamson, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Charlie Amesbury.

Referee: J.P Doyle

  • Aviva Prem Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
Saturday , May 3
Saracens vs Worcester15:00
Bath vs Northampton15:00
Wasps vs Newcastle15:00
Exeter vs Harlequins15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
  • Aviva Prem Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
Sunday , March 30
Newcastle 12 - 17 WorcesterNewcastle vs Worcester Report
Saturday , March 29
Exeter 13 - 14 GloucesterExeter vs Gloucester Report
Harlequins 23 - 9 London IrishHarlequins vs London Irish Report
Wasps 20 - 32 SaracensWasps vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Aviva Prem Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954