Planet Rugby

Falcons pay the penalty in Bristol

18th February 2007 17:02

Share:

Lee Robinson

A penalty try three minutes from time was enough to snatch Bristol a crucial 22-21 Guinness Premiership win over Newcastle on Sunday, maintaining their charge for the title.

The Falcons threatened to tear up the form guide by leading for much of a typically-attritional encounter.

But Bristol had just enough left in the tank to inflict punishing pressure on Newcastle's scrum after flanker Ben Woods had been sin-binned during the final minute of normal time, and referee Andy Small awarded a penalty try.

Substitute fly-half Jason Strange calmly slotted the match-winning conversion, and Bristol hung on to retain second place, just one point behind Leicester.

It was rough justice on Newcastle though, who belied their pre-match league position - eight places and 22 points behind Bristol - to compete vigorously throughout.

While England star Wilkinson recovered from what Falcons termed a series of "bumps, bruises and strains" following successive RBS 6 Nations appearances against Scotland and Italy, his red rose colleagues Toby Flood and Mathew Tait took centre stage.

Flood ran the show with a high-class display in Wilkinson's number 10 shirt, while centre Tait - who will be alongside Flood on England bench duty against Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday - scored an exquisite try.

Tait's midfield partner Jamie Noon also touched down, with Flood landing three penalties and a conversion, but Bristol's goalkickers came up trumps, with Strange booting eight points and David Hill slotting three penalties.

Newcastle, who had recorded a solitary Premiership away win all season, suffered an immediate setback when number eight Russell Winter was sin-binned inside three minutes for use of the boot at the game's first ruck.

Hill cashed in by booting the resulting penalty for Bristol, but it proved a short-lived advantage as Flood landed an equalising penalty before Newcastle conjured a superb 50-metre try.

Wing John Rudd utilised his power by smashing through two attempted Bristol tackles, before supporting lock Mark Sorenson delivered a one-handed pass to Tait, who finished in confident fashion.

The score confirmed Newcastle's reputation as a gifted attacking side, yet their much-maligned pack also relished the battle, with South African Winter and New Zealander Sorenson heavily involved in keeping Bristol at bay.

Hill and Flood exchanged further penalties, but the first half proved eminently forgettable from Bristol's perspective as they were heavily disrupted by losing three players to injuries.

Full-back Josh Taumalolo, centre Brian Lima and number eight Alfie To'oala all made premature exits - Craig Morgan, Jason Strange and Gareth Llewellyn were their respective replacements - which caused considerable reshuffling.

Morgan was a straight change for Taumalolo, but Hill moved into the centre and lock Roy Winters went to number eight before Hill completed his penalty hat-trick to leave the home side just 11-9 adrift at half-time.

Newcastle though, quickly showed their opening 40-minute display was no fluke, and they stung Bristol through a second try just eight minutes after the restart.

Woods, who made his England Saxons debut against Ireland A last week, powered into the heart of the home defence and, before they could regroup, Noon was sent scurrying over.

Flood converted and then landed a penalty to leave Bristol 21-9 adrift, and although Strange booted a close-range penalty after Hill became the latest injury casualty, Newcastle remained in control.

It was an outstanding effort by the Falcons forwards, who continued to frustrate their opponents at source, and the game proved an increasingly-frustrating experience for scrum-half Shaun Perry in his attempt to boss proceedings behind a subdued home pack.

A second Strange penalty brought Bristol back to six points adrift, but Flood remained the game's dominant figure, keeping Newcastle in charge through his outstanding tactical kicking and consistent taking of right options.

Bristol inevitably went for broke during the closing minutes, and Newcastle were again reduced to 14 when Woods was sin-binned following a technical infringement, which left his colleagues hanging on without him.

And it proved a costly departure, as referee Small awarded Bristol an immediate penalty try when Newcastle collapsed a scrum, and Strange's conversion preserved the west country club's unbeaten home record in all competitions this term.

The scorers:

For Bristol:

Try: Penalty try

Con: Strange

Pens: Hill 3, Strange 2

For Newcastle:

Tries: Tait, Noon

Con: Flood

Pens: Flood 3

Yellow card: Winter (3, Newcastle)

Bristol: 15 Josh Taumalolo, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Brian Lima, 12 Rob Higgitt, 11 David Lemi, 10 David Hill, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Joe El Abd, 6 Matt Salter (c), 5 Sean Hohneck, 4 Roy Winters, 3 Darren Crompton, 2 Mark Regan 1 David Hilton,

Replacements: 16 Scott Linklater, 17 Alex Clarke, 18 Gareth Llewellyn, 19 Redford Pennycook, 20 Brian O'Riordan, 21 Jason Strange, 22 Craig Morgan.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Matthew Burke (c), 14 Tom May, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Jamie Noon, 11 John Rudd, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Russell Winter, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Geoff Parling, 5 Jason Oakes, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Micky Ward, 2 Andy Long, 1 Joe McDonnell.

Replacements: 16 David Wilson, 17 Matt Thompson, 18 Andy Buist, 19 Brent Wilson, 20 Mark Mayerhofler, 21 James Grindal, 22 Loki Crichton.

Referee: Andrew Small

Touch judges: Bob Mullis, Paul Emerson

Assessor: Paul Bridgman

Television match official: Laurie Bryant

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615