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Falcons face wait over relegation

Newcastle face relegation from the Aviva Premiership despite their crunch basement battle against fellow strugglers Wasps ending with a hard-earned 14-10 victory.

The Falcons finished bottom by a point following a 22-game regular league season that saw them win just six matches.

They needed a bonus-point triumph over 11th-placed Wasps - and also deny their opponents a losing one in the process - but that fanciful script never seriously looked like unfolding at a packed Adams Park.

Wasps, relieved to start putting an injury-ravaged campaign behind them, saw wing Christian Wade claim his ninth league try of the campaign, while fly-half Nicky Robinson added a conversion and penalty.

Centre James Fitzpatrick touched down for the visitors midway through the second period, a try that Jimmy Gopperth converted, yet a game suffocated by tension had no chance of breaking into the free-scoring spectacular that Newcastle needed.

Even when scrum-half Peter Stringer touched down late on, with Gopperth adding the extras, there was no obvious sign of any further late drama.

Falcons' fate now rests on the outcome of this season's second-tier Championship title race, which will not be concluded until May 30.

Bristol, London Welsh, Bedford and Cornish Pirates are all contesting silverware, although it is thought only Bristol of that quartet categorically meet Premiership entry criteria.

Newcastle were crowned champions of England 14 years ago after a Rob Andrew-led rugby revolution on Tyneside that was bankrolled by Sir John Hall's millions.

But all they can hope for now is that Bristol come unstuck, with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union set to issue a statement on promotion eligibility later this month.


From Belfast Telegraph