Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Falcons make winning start

Alan Tait
Alan Tait

Newcastle survived a late scare to triumph 22-16 in their first ever meeting with Bourgoin in the opening Amlin Challenge Cup tie of the season.

Tries from Jeremy Manning, Joe Graham and Luke Fielden gave the Falcons victory at Kingston Park.

Jeremy Gondrand's score ensured a tense finale but some determined defence prevented the French side turning the game around.

Sebastien Laloo kicked the French side into a 6-0 lead and Mark Wilson's clumsy footwork squandered the chance of a try before the Falcons clicked into gear 20 minutes in.

A superb move started by Luke Eves' break ended with Jeremy Manning dummying over. The fly-half missed the conversion but was accurate five minutes later when hooker Graham burrowed over following sustained pressure.

Brent Wilson followed his namesake and fellow flanker in failing to take a straightforward chance when he fumbled Manning's cross-kick, meaning half-time arrived with the scoreline at 12-6.

Timothy Cowley's last-ditch tackle denied Manning another try before he and Laloo traded penalties. But the Falcons worked an overlap in the 63rd minute, Fielden going over before the converstion saw debutant Joel Hodgson join him in registering his first points for Newcastle.

Replacement scrum-half Gondrand's converted try cut the deficit and tempers flared as he was denied another by James Fitzpatrick's bone-shaking challenge, with replays indicating a punch thrown by Bourgoin substitute Erwan Iapteff in the fracas.

The hosts maintained their advantage, though, to open their campaign with a win.

Stade Francais cruised to a comfortable victory over Parma in Pool Four, the French side running in nine tries in a 57-6 win at Stade Jean Bouin.

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