Further Information on Newcastle Falcons
Doncaster Knights showed some glimpses of real potential for the season ahead, but were overpowered by Championship promotion favourites Newcastle Falcons at a blustery Kingston Park.
After a dismal first half, the Knights proved they are capable of battling it out with the best in the league, running some attractive rugby in the second period and scoring two well worked tries.
The Knights started the brighter, finding themselves deep in opposition territory and pressurising the Falcons line. A series of strong forward drives caused the hosts to infringe allowing Dougie Flockhart to notch some early points on the board.
The home side bounced straight back following the restart, securing possession and producing quick ball for fly-half Jimmy Gopperth to propel himself over the whitewash for the games first try, which he duly converted.
Newcastle began to turn the screw, forcing Doncaster to infringe at the breakdown as ill-discipline crept in. The resultant penalty gave Gopperth the chance to pin the Knights deep inside their own 22. A well-worked catch and drive move from the home pack allowed number 8 Taiasina Tu’ifa to cross.
Falcons again attacked swiftly, spinning the ball wide for Michael Tait to break forcefully down the left wing. Good support generated quick ball and outside centre Alex Crockett hit a good line to get the score, Gopperth added the extras as the North East side led 19-3 inside the first quarter.
The Knights rallied to put together several phases, Sam Pailor particularly impressive with ball in hand. Unfortunately strong counter rucking by Newcastle forwards forced a turnover and put the hosts back on the front foot. A scrum metres out gave Gopperth the chance to dart over from metres out, making the most of a defensive error for his second try, and his third conversion.
A knee injury to Brian McGovern short of the half handed Adam Tamanis his full first team debut as the front-row continued to not be overawed by their former Premiership counterparts. But Knights again fell foul of the referee for illegalities, this time Falcons captain Will Welch taking advantage of the lack of defensive cover to touchdown under the posts, Gopperth again converted.
With half time fast approaching the hosts attacked quickly from the restart as the ever impressive Gopperth spread the ball wide for full-back Alex Tait who did the rest, scoring on the stroke of half time for a 38-3 lead at the interval.
A number of changes were made at half time with; Munro, Lennard, Simpson, Keating, Tincknell, Davies, Cronin, Thomson, Parsons and Kettle all entering the fray. And Doncaster came out fighting much to DoR Brett Davey’s delight; Adam Kettle seizing the initiative darting over to score from ten meters out as the returning Jamie Lennard slotted the extras.
The Knights continued to push forward attacking through young scrum-half James Munro who chipped deftly over the Newcastle defence and chased hard to capitalise on a Falcons’ misjudgement and touch down for the Knights second try, Lennard again successful with the conversion from out wide reminding travelling fans of his past form with the Club.
With ten minutes left to play the Knights conceded twice more as fatigue became a factor, Carlo Del Fava and Tom Catterick bagging the tries. But there were many encouraging signs for Brett Davey’s men and plenty to take into next week’s clash with Cambridge at Castle Park.
15 Dougie Flockhart 14 Tyson Lewis 13 Dante Mama 12 Tom Luke 11 Dan Smith 10 Tom Barrett 9 Louis Silver 1 Brian McGovern 2 Rhys Buckley 3 Tomas Francis 4 Phil Hoy 5 Royce Cadman 6 Matt Challinor © 7 Jethro Rawling 8 Sam Pailor
Replacements; Adam Tamanis, Tom Davies, Ali Thomson, Jerry Cronin, Dominic Parsons, Ben Sowery, Adam Kettle, James Munro, Jamie Lennard, Michael Keating, James Tincknell, Will Simpson (All used)
Tries: Kettle, Munro
Cons: Lennard (2)
15 Alex Tait 14 Michael Tait 13 Alex Crockett 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu 11 Tom Catterick 10 Jimmy Gopperth 9 Jordi PAsqualin 1 Grant Shiells 2 Matt Thompson 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk 4 Carlo del Fava 5 James Hudson 6 Richard Mayhew 7 Will Welch © 8 Taiasina Tu’ifua
Replacements; Chris Harris, George Mcguigan, Greg Goosen, James Ponton, Jamie Sole Joe Graham, Joe Robinson, Jonny Burn, Jonny Neville, Michael Mayhew, Ollie Richards, Waisea Luveniyali (All used)
Tries: Gopperth (2), Tu’ifa, Crockett, Welch, Tait. A, Del Fava, Catterick
Cons: Gopperth (4) Luvenyali (2)