Gloucester survive late Newcastle Falcons comeback to claim Premiership victory

Planet Rugby
Gloucester's Val Rapava Ruskin is tackled during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle

Gloucester's Val Rapava Ruskin is tackled during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle.

Gloucester survived a late Newcastle Falcons comeback to secure an 18-14 win in their second Premiership match of the 2023/24 season at Kingston Park on Friday evening.

First-half tries from George McGuigan and Jacob Morris gave Gloucester a healthy lead, with George Barton adding one conversion and two penalties throughout the game.

Newcastle Falcons were scoreless in the first 40 minutes but fought back in the second through a penalty try and a score from Adam Radwan but were unable to complete the comeback.

Click here for scorers

Radwan’s brilliant solo effort was not enough to stop the visitors from closing out the win and handing his side a second successive defeat.

The visitors nudged in front early on – Barton taking advantage of a ninth-minute penalty 22 metres out.

And McGuigan came back to haunt his former club when he drove over after a line-out situation on 17 minutes – Barton converting from a tight angle to increase the lead to 10 points.

The home side almost hit back immediately when Ben Stevenson was let in by a slip, but a good tackle from Stephen Varney prevented a simple try in the corner.

On 21 minutes, the Cherry and Whites dotted down again as a high kick caused panic behind the posts – Morris keeping his composure to take the catch and score.

Barton missed the conversion, as the howling winds and never-ending rain continued to cause problems on both sides.

Falcons captain Chick was sent to the sin bin a minute before half-time, and Gloucester nearly made them pay with the final play of the half – Arthur Clark spotted Alex Hearle on the right wing with the freedom of Kingston Park, but the referee deemed his pass had gone forward.

Wing Radwan took matters into his own hands shortly after the interval when he carried the ball 40 metres – evading three challenges on the way – before Varney again intervened.

Barton added another three points from the tee 10 minutes into the half, as the away side continued to look the more threatening.

But the north-east side began to gain a foothold on the hour mark, and were rewarded with a penalty try after McGuigan dragged a maul down, which looked to be heading over the try-line.

Radwan then produced a stunning run from left to right before slicing through the Gloucester defence to dot down and reduce the deficit to four and earn his side a losing bonus point.

But it was not enough to deny the Cherry and Whites the victory and vengeance for the Falcons completing the double over them last season.

The teams

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Ben Redshaw, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan, 8 Callum Chick (c), 7 Guy Pepper, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Phil Brantingham, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo.

Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Jake Morris, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 George Barton, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Ben Donnell, 5 Arthur Clark, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Jamal Ford-Robinson
Replacements: 16 Seb Blake, 17 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Freddie Thomas, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Max Llewellyn, 23 Alex Hearle

Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant Referees: Alex Thomas, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Dean Richards

READ MORE: England v South Africa preview: Springboks to hammer Red Rose to reach back-to-back Rugby World Cup finals