Match Centre: Newcastle Falcons 18-20 Wasps

Brad Shields scored the opening try for Wasps
Brad Shields scored the opening try for Wasps
©Steve Haag

Newcastle Falcons 18-20 Wasps, Kingston Park

Wasps scored both their tries in the second half as they came from behind to edge out Newcastle Falcons 20-18 in the 14th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Kingston Park.

The result also meant Wasps have managed to avoid their third consecutive away game defeat for the first time since November 2019. The Falcons though looked in control for most part of the first half at the end of which they had a 18-6 lead but second half yellow cards to Greg Paterson and Michael Young hampered their chances as Wasps went on to win a thriller.

Both the teams now have 30 points from 14 games with Newcastle positioned at eighth due to better points difference while Wasps are at ninth.

Joel Hodgson, making his first appearance in six weeks got the home side off the mark in the third minute after the Falcons were awarded a scrum penalty but Wasps went on to level the scores in the 10th minute when Jimmy Gopperth slotted a three-pointer after a Falcons defender had a knock on.

The Falcons seized the lead back in the 13th minute when Marco Fuser touched down at the back of a driving maul and Hodgson improved it making the scoreline 10-3. Hodgson with another penalty in front of the goal extended the lead to six points but Gopperth immediately responded around the half hour mark with a penalty kick of his own.

As the break was approaching, Newcastle were given an opportunity as an errant Gopperth pass was intercepted by Tom Penny, who made an inside pass for George Wacokecoke to score as the opening half ended with a 18-6 lead for the home side.

Wasps built early pressure in the second half and were eventually rewarded as Brad Shields breached the defence of Newcastle Falcons to dot down and Gopperth improved it making the scoreline 18-13.

As the third quarter was about to end, Newcastle suffered a double setback as they lost Peterson to sin bin in the 58th minute for cynically slowing the ball down on his own line and a minute later it was the turn of Young, who was penalised for an offside.

With the numerical advantage on their side, Wasps regrouped and got their second try in the 63rd minute when Tom West dived from close range to level the scores and Gopperth kicked a vital conversion to seal a two-point victory for the visitors.

Team line-up:

Newcastle XV: Penny; Carreras, Wacokecoke, Burrell, Stevenson; Hodgson, Young; Davison, McGuigan, Mulipola, Peterson, Fuser, Robinson, Welch, Van der Walt.

Reserves: Blamire, Cooper, Tampin, Montgomery, Chick, Schreuder, Connon, Tait.

Wasps: Miller; Kibirige, Fekitoa, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Gopperth, Wolstenholme; Harris, Taylor, Toomaga-Allen, Launchbury, Rowlands, Shields, Young, Vailanu.

Reserves: Oghre, West, Owlett, Vukasinovic, Barbeary, Vellacott, Atkinson, Minozzi.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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