Planet Rugby

Leeds grab a vital victory

21st March 2008 21:05

Share:

Jonny Wilkinson try v Leeds

Not enough: Jonny Wilkinson can't stop Newcastle slipping to another defeat

Leeds' faint hopes of Guinness Premiership survival are still intact after a rugged 16-15 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Headingley on Friday.

A first-minute try by Lee Blackett set them on their way, and Alberto di Bernado's boot kept their noses in front right to the end.

Jonny Wilkinson returned to the Falcons side after international duty along with Jamie Noon, Toby Flood and Mathew Tait, for their first game since the sacking of Head Coach John Fletcher ten days ago.

The quartet could be forgiven for wishing they had not bothered as spirited Leeds kept their slim survival hopes alive and set a new record for the fastest try in Premiership history through Chris Blackett after 8.28 seconds.

Wilkinson registered the 24th Premiership try of his career and also claimed five points with the boot but there was little else to cheer on an otherwise miserable evening at a bitterly cold and windswept Headingley.

An abject surrender saw the Falcons lose 28-8 at home to Bristol last weekend in what ranked as their worst performance of the season.

This latest effort was of a similar ilk and will bring owner Dave Thompson's decision to sack Fletcher and forwards coach Peter Walton under further scrutiny.

Steve Bates was placed in charge until the end of the season but has now presided over two straight defeats.

Leeds, meanwhile, claimed only their second win in 17 Premiership outings and remain rock bottom.

But if they go down, they will go down fighting.

The Yorkshiremen, backed by a biting, swirling wind in the first half, could not have asked for a better start as they breached Newcastle's line after only eight seconds.

Straight from the kick-off by Leeds fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo, the Falcons allowed the ball to bounce and Blackett advanced forward at pace to collect possession and ground under the posts.

It was the first Premiership try of the centre's career and set a new record for the fastest Premiership score, beating the mark set when Tom Voyce touched down for Wasps against Harlequins in November 2004.

Moreover, it gave the Yorkshiremen the platform for an improbable victory.

Di Bernardo missed a penalty from distance moments later but Newcastle began to establish a stranglehold and by the 13th minute Wilkinson got them off the mark.

A period of sustained pressure led to hooker Lee Dickson taking control from behind a scrum close to the Leeds line before delivering a rapier-like offload to Wilkinson to his left.

He still had work to but Leeds wing Apo Satala's pitiful attempt at a tackle counted for little as Wilkinson burrowed his way over the line.

The wind ensured his conversion attempt missed by some distance but he did not err from under the posts with a penalty midway through the half to edge his side 8-7 ahead.

Newcastle by now were in control and several promising breaks threatened to cut Leeds apart.

That it did not happen was largely down to the hosts' spirited resistance and obstinate defence, and after Noon departed groggily midway through the first period, Di Bernardo landed a penalty to give his side further breathing space.

Newcastle were dealt another blow when Alex Tait - who had replaced Noon minutes earlier - was forced off through injury.

Di Bernardo converted his second penalty shortly before the break to give his side a 13-8 interval lead.

Leeds dominated for the first 20 minutes of the second period but had only another Di Bernardo penalty to show for their efforts.

Newcastle slowly crept back into contention and giant prop Carl Hayman bundled his way over the line from close range shortly after the hour mark.

Wilkinson converted as Newcastle claimed a bonus point but Leeds held on in a tense final few minutes for a famous success which was rapturously received at a jubilant Headingley.

The scorers:

For Leeds:

Try: Blackett

Con: Di Bernado

Pens: Di Bernado 3

For Newcastle:

Tries: Wilkinson, Hayman

Con: Wilkinson

Pen: Wilkinson

Leeds: 15 Leigh Hinton, 14 Apo Satala, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Lee Blackett, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Joe Bedford, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Jon Dunbar, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Tommy McGee, 2 Rob Rawlinson, 1 Mike MacDonald.

Replacements: 16 Adam Hopcroft, 17 James Parkes, 18 Erik Lund, 19 Mark Lock, 20 James Brooks, 21 John Holtby, 22 Jon Goodridge.

Newcastle: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Tom May, 13 Jamie Noon, 12 Toby Flood, 11 John Rudd, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Russell Winter, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Phil Dowson (c), 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Andy Perry, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Micky Ward.

Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Jon Golding, 18 Andy Buist, 19 Brent Wilson, 20 Hall Charlton, 21 Ollie Phillips, 22 Alex Tait.

Referee: Chris White

Touch judges: Robin Goodliffe, Don Helme

TMO: David Hudson, Graham Hughes

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821