Planet Rugby

Brive send Falcons packing

16th October 2008 21:35

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Brive have pegged Newcastle back in the European Challenge Cup Pool Four on Thursday, with a comprehensive 36-22 victory in France.

Newcastle's last away win in any competition came here in January this year, but a repeat looked unlikely as Brive opened the match with a terrific burst of pace, which yielded them a cracking try for Ronnie Cooke, converted by Andy Goode for a 7-0 lead.

Thereafter, fly-halves and full-backs exchanged some hefty kicks for a good ten minutes before the next noteworthy action.

The ball came out to Tim Visser on the right, and he was on a charge to the line from 22m, but he was excellently tackled by Alexis Palisson. A 5m scrum ensued, at which Brive comprehensively shoved the Falcons eight backwards and sideways until they won a penalty. Carl Hayman was not amused.

Newcastle were still shading the skirmishes, but not finding a way through. Ben Cohen's wild mouth gave Newcastle a penalty which they kicked for touch in the corner, but the Falcons lost the line-out.

Cohen atoned for his indiscretion by coming off his wing into the Brive line with devastating effect, and only John Rudd's cynical bat-down of the ball stopped a try. Goode landed a penalty instead, but Brive ought to have had more - indeed, Rudd ought to have been yellow-carded.

A sliced clearance kick from Goode gave the Falcons another attacking platform, and this time it was used. After several phases taking the ball right, it came back left and Adam Balding delayed the pass perfectly for Rory Clegg to slice through on the angle and score. He couldn't convert, but he had momentarily silenced an enthusiastic crowd.

Phil Dowson unfortunately gave the crowd something to cheer about moments later though, shouting at the referee at a ruck and ensuring that a hitherto harmless penalty was brought within Goode's range and dispatched for three points and a 13-5 lead.

Cohen made a searing break just before the break, which left two defenders nursing bumped heads as Cohen burst through, but the rest of the team did not share his urgency to finish the move off, and Arnaud Pic went utterly the wrong way from the breakdown, handing turnover ball to the Falcons.

Newcastle began the second half with a terrific break by Tim May which petered out for lack of support but which did produce a penalty for Clegg to convert to make it 13-8.

But once again, Brive hit back immediately, with Newcastle going off their feet at a scrum and Goode banging over the kick from 45m, and he nailed another from slightly closer in as Newcastle's forwards buckled under the continuous running charges of Brive's back-row; the lead now 19-8.

Pic made a lovely break from his own 22, supported by Claasen and so nearly finished off by Cohen. Instead May was guilty of taking a man out off the ball and Goode stepped up again, but this shot drifted to the right.

Pic turned villain on the hour mark, failing to catch a chip by Clegg on his tryline after a Hayman surge, and gifting Visser a try under the posts, from where Clegg made it 19-15.

But three minutes later he was hero again, sniping off a ruck and offloading to Claasen, who found Johan van Zyl with a simple scoring pass. Goode's conversion made it 26-15.

Rudd did finally see yellow after a nasty shoulder-charge on Steve Thompson as Newcastle's hope evaporated, and Goode sank another nail in the coffin from the tee.

Both sides chased another try with more enthusiasm than actual skill, but there was little Newcastle could do as Goode kept Brive in control territorially, and the French eventually closed out the game with a try from Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, converted once again by Goode.

Ollie Phillips scored a try for Newcastle with the final move of the game, but it was far too little far too late.

The scorers:

For Brive:

Tries: Cooke, Van Zyl, Pejoine

Cons: Goode 3

Pens: Goode 5

For Newcastle:

Tries: Clegg, Visser, Phillips

Cons: Clegg 2

Pen: Clegg

Brive: 15 Alexis Palisson, 14 Norman Ligairi, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Arnaud Pic, 8 Alix Popham, 7 Simon Azoulai (capt), 6 Antoine Claasen, 5 Damien Browne, 4 Christian Short, 3 Pierre Capdevielle, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Davit Kinchagishvili.

Replacements: 16 Jean-Philippe Bonrepaux, 17 Pascal Idieder, 18 Johan van Zyl, 19 Vincent Forgues, 20 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 21 Luciano Orquera, 22 Horacio Agulla.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Steve Jones, 14 Tim Visser, 13 Jamie Noon, 12 Tom May, 11 John Rudd, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Hall Charlton, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Ed Williamson, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Andy Perry, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Andy Long, 1 Joe McDonnell.

Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Tim Swinson, 19 Russell Winter, 20 James Grindal, 21 Ollie Phillips, 22 Tom Dillon.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Touch judges: Eanna O'Dowd (Ireland), Mark Hermin (Ireland)

Television match official: David Wilkinson (Ireland)

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