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Falcons ponder complaint over ref

Newcastle are considering making a formal complaint over referee Tim Wigglesworth's handling of Friday's Premiership game against Sale Sharks which ended in a 19-19 draw.

Falcons chairman and owner Dave Thompson was furious with Wigglesworth's decision to allow a controversial second-half try by Sale number eight Sisa Koyamaibole which took Sale 16-9 ahead. Television replays appeared to show Sale hooker Marc Jones knocking the ball on as the Sharks forwards drove for the line and Koyamaibole touched down.

"It was a disgraceful decision," fumed Thompson. "There was a blatant knock-on and I'm considering making a formal complaint."

It was just one of several decisions by Wigglesworth which infuriated the Falcons and director of rugby Alan Tait was surprised to see Sale back-rower James Gaskell escape a yellow card for punching.

Tait was bemused after the 25th-minute yellow card shown to Newcastle lock Tim Swinson and then Gaskell escaping any punishment for clearly punching Falcons skipper James Hudson in full view of the touch judge and the referee.

Hudson was penalised for holding on in the tackle after the officials discussed the matter and Gaskell was not even spoken to.

"I think I'd be holding on if I was being punched five times, which is what Gaskell was doing," said Tait. "I thought punching was supposed be a yellow card, but we don't seem to have any consistency with decisions."

The draw puts Newcastle five points ahead of Leeds and Tait said:" There is plenty of talent here and I'm not about to press any panic buttons, there's nothing to be gained from panicking.

"We do have quality players and I hope this draw and way we came back will kick-start our recovery. I did think the game had gone at 19-9 so I have to be happy we got back to 19-19."

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