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Falcons finish with a flourish

Newcastle ended their LV= Cup campaign on a high note with a 29-0 win over Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park.

On a gluepot pitch both sides displayed surprisingly good handling in the first half but the Falcons dominated the possession and ran in four tries, three of them before the break, as Newport struggled to match them up front.

It was different story after the break the game disintegrated on the back of myriad changes from the benches and any hopes Newport may have had of a comeback were dashed when they had centre Nic Cudd sent off for a spear tackle on Adam Powell in the 56th minute.

Both sides made 14 changes to their line-ups and despite being competitive at the breakdown, the Dragons proved no match for the Falcons up front.

They were heaved off their own ball at just about every time in the first half and Newcastle were able to play the game very much on the front foot.

Fly-half Phil Godman skipped through some ragged defence for the first try after just seven minutes which the Scotland cap also converted.

With the wind at their backs the Falcons were soon looking for more but they had to wait until the 20th minute for the next score.

Newcastle moved the ball wide to Sinoti Sinoti with Newport struggling and the winger sent in flanker Mark Wilson, who was making his 100th Falcons appearance, for a try in the corner to make it 12-0.

The big flanker was back again in the 28th minute when scrum-half Warren Fury's darting blindside break made the hole for Wilson to blast through and this time Godman's conversion from wide out was good for 19-0.

Right on half-time, Newport were turned over at the scrum on their own put-in again and the Falcons upped the power again at the scrum to force a penalty which Godman knocked over for 22-0 at the break.

Newport's first real chance arrived eight minutes into the second half when they tried three successive line-out catch and drives with Falcons hooker Matt Thomson sin-binned after the second attempt which went close to the try-line - but the Falcons pack turned the ball over and were able to clear.

Cudd then joined Thompson on the sidelines - but he was not to return as the colour of the card he was shown after a spear tackle on Powell was red.

That effectively ended any hopes Newport may have had. Newcastle were totally in control from that point - but the number of chances they wasted will not have pleased Falcons boss Dean Richards.

The hosts had just one solitary score to show for all their dominance, when lock Fraser McKenzie scrambled over with just two minutes left. Rory Clegg converted to complete the scoring.


From Belfast Telegraph