Worcester Warriors 11 Newcastle Falcons 16 match report: Falcons fly highest in battle to avoid the drop

Warriors are without a win in over seven months after Falcons earn first victory at Sixways since 2004


The air of desperation hanging over Sixways was almost palpable. Even this early in the season it is hard to believe that these two clubs will not be involved in a relegation struggle come April, but Newcastle Falcons, in recording their second win of the Aviva Premiership, have the stronger foundation.

Having scored 13 points in almost as many minutes, they could hardly be accused of sitting on their lead because they did not have the ball to sit on; for an hour or more they tackled their hearts out and Worcester, hurried and flurried, could break them only once.

True, they could have pinched the verdict in the dying moments. David Lemi, who scored their try by crawling under his forwards to the line, was brought down six metres short and Worcester forced a scrum in the shadow of the posts. Yet that scrum was a mess, possession shoddy and Newcastle held firm, forcing the turnover which allowed them to close matters out.

Worcester will argue that any point is better than none but they have now lost 10 matches in succession, their worst run in the professional era, and defeat yesterday gave Newcastle their first success at Sixways since 2004 – Worcester’s first game after winning promotion to the premiership for the first time in their history.

Dean Ryan, their director of rugby, has never been one to soft-soap such a scenario: “We can’t buy a win at the moment,” he said. “We have to get better at managing the things we can control, we haven’t got a group that is confident week in, week out. Last week [against London Wasps] we ran too much, this week we kicked too much – with the sort of possession we had, we should have generated more scores.”

Kicked too much and kicked poorly. In the first half, in particular, it almost suited Newcastle better to be without the ball because they could rely on Worcester giving it to them in reasonable  counter-attacking positions. If the Falcons do not play pretty rugby, no-one should expect them to: shorn of eight injured players, they are interested only in winning games with a young group, many graduates from the club academy.

One of their older heads, Mike Blair, helped them on the road to victory when he squeezed beneath a pile of bodies for the try which, with Rory Clegg adding a conversion to his earlier penalty, gave Newcastle 10 points in the opening eight minutes..

Clegg added another penalty when the Worcester front row was at fault and though Ignacio Mieres clawed back three points, Worcester could make no headway even against 14 men. Oliver Tomaszczyk was dispatched to the sin-bin for slowing down ruck ball and Will Welch, the Newcastle captain, did not re-appear after the interval because of shoulder damage.

However, Mieres kicked another penalty as Tomaszczyk returned and, with 12 minutes remaining, gave themselves a sniff of victory when a series of drives ended with Lemi joining his forwards and making the touchdown. But Paul Warwick could not level with the angled conversion and Newcastle promptly marched back downfield, helped by a barnstorming run from Chris York, Welch’s replacement; Phil Godman kicked an easy penalty and Newcastle left in good heart.

“When I came back up [to the premiership] with Harlequins, we lost our first six games and everyone was talking about relegation,” Dean Richards, their director of rugby, said. “You have to have patience.” His two wins have come away from home; now he has to make Kingston Park inhospitable.


Worcester: C Pennell; J Drauniniu, R Fatiaki (A Grove, 18), J Matavesi, D Lemi; I Mieres (P Warwick, 52), P Hodgson J Su’a, 47); J Becasseau (G Porter, 54), E Shervington (C Brooker, 54), E Murray (J Andress, 66), M Williams, C Jones, J Thomas (captain), J Abbott, S Taulava (C Goodhue, 48).

Newcastle: A Tait; N Cato, A Powell, J Fitzpatrick, T Catterick; R Clegg (P Godman, 75), M Blair (W Fury, 75); R Vickers (F Montanella, 48-71), M Thompson (G McGuigan, 48), O Tomaszczyk (sin bin 35-45; S Wilson, 66), C del Fava (S Tomes, 75), D Barrow, M Wilson, W Welch (captain; Wilson, 35-45; C York, 45), A Hogg.

Referee: M Fox (Leicestershire).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?