Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Edinburgh deal Newcastle first loss in Champions Cup

Blair Kinghorn Blair Kinghorn is congratulated by Hamish Watson after scoring Edinburgh's bonus point try. Image
Cassandra Castillo | 08 December, 2018, 19:39

Richard Cockerill got the better of former boss at Leicester Tigers Dean Richards, Edinburgh's bonus-point win meant they went top of their Heineken Champions Cup pool.

There was chaos before kick-off as Newcastle were forced to play without a full bench.

The hosts resumed with a patient build-up that saw them inch closer to the whitewash then, when Viliame Mata was thwarted just short, Henry Pyrgos flipped out a pass for Dean to finish off between the sticks and leave Van Der Walt a simple conversion. Hamish Watson and Chris Dean scored, with Jaco van der Walt kicking two conversions and a penalty.

"We knew it was going to be hard no matter how many players they were missing, and the weather conditions were not easy, but we got the job done and the bonus point was critical", said the Scotland hooker.

The Falcons made a request to the EPCR to have tighthead Jack Payne registered in the European squad so that he could be eligible to play in tonight's game but the club confirmed that they were "not permitted to do so".

Richards said he had spoken to Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill about the issue before the game, which he later described an "unfair contest".

The Falcons director of rugby said post-game: "You lose three tighthead props in 24 hours, you ask for dispensation to bring in another one and you're not allowed that so you have to play a loosehead on the tight".

Van der Walt missed a penalty for Edinburgh minutes later, but they won possession back and in doing so, earned another kickable penalty that the fly-half popped over, drawing the sides level.

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A try reminiscent of Newcastle's last gasp effort against Montpellier then followed, as Edinburgh worked a mammoth set of phases before eventually powering Hamish Watson over the try line.

"It is not like playing a left wing on the right wing, or an inside-centre at outside-centre - there is a safety issue there and they weren't prepared to address it, so I was particularly disappointed with that", he said.

Then, when Grant Gilchrist then strayed offside at a lineout, Connon stroked over the kick to give the visitors a three-point lead at half-time.

And the next time they got down in the Falcons 22 the home side turned the screw with a succession of penalties and scrums inevitably leading to a penalty try with 55 minutes played.

Edinburgh thought they had the bonus try but Darcy Graham just had a toe in touch as he went into the corner, and it took a brilliant open field tackle by replacement hooker Dave Cherry to stop Radwan as he weaved through.

Edinburgh's crucial bonus point try came on 72 minutes, when good work from Van der Walt down the right flank left Kinghorn clear to dot down easily. Van der Walt took the delightful pass and placed a flawless kick through which Kinghorn chased down and gleefully flopped over.

Newcastle Falcons: A Tait (J Williams 67); T Arscott, C Harris, P Bettencourt, A Radwan; B Connon, T Takulua; A Brocklebank (S Lockwood 76), G McGuigan (S Socino 67), S Lockwood (S Mavinga 61), T Cavubati (C Green 63), G Young, R Burrows, G Graham, C Chick (S Uzokwe 67).

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