Newcastle braced for Exeter cup trip
The Falcons are eyeing silverware this season.
Newcastle head coach David Walder admitted he had mixed feelings following the team’s 31-19 Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Gloucester at Kingston Park.
Scoring a four-try bonus point win to make almost sure of top spot in Pool Four and a place in the semi-finals – depending on the result of Sunday’s Wasps versus Leicester clash – Newcastle look to have fallen one try short of clinching a home semi-final at the expense of Exeter.
Newcastle could not add to the four tries they rattled up by just after half-time as the Chiefs steadily overhauled the Falcons pool try total.
It looks like ensuring Exeter will be at home to the Falcons in next week’s semi-finals unless the Tigers perform a mathematical miracle on Sunday.
“I do have mixed feelings,” said Walder. “We won the game and won well but it feels like it’s not enough. We gave ourselves a chance of finishing top of our group but it does look like we’re going to have an away semi-final when we could have been at home.
“Having said that, we did turn Exeter over here a couple of weeks ago but it’s down there and Sandy Park is a difficult place to get a result.
“Nevertheless, it’s a great challenge for us next week and we’re looking forward to it.”
On a wet and miserable afternoon at Kingston Park, a crowd of just over 4,000 turned out for the match despite the counter attractions of Six Nations games on television.
They were treated to a fast-flowing, physical clash, albeit one riddled with errors in which several young players were given a chance.
Gloucester academy coach Richard Whiffen was delighted to see several of his charges in action and impress during a second half in which the Cherry and Whites shared the honours with a excellent try from Matt Scott.
“It was disappointing that with 15 minutes to go we had decent opportunities but we couldn’t capitalise on them,” said Whiffen, “but the guys will be all the better for the experience they’ve gained.”