Wasps edge Newcastle Falcons
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Brad Shields and Tom West scored second-half tries as Wasps came from behind to claim a 20-18 win over Newcastle Falcons.
Trailing by 12 points at the interval, the visitors scored 14 unanswered points to condemn Newcastle to their third successive defeat.
The Falcons led 18-6 at the break thanks to tries from lock Marco Fuser and centre George Wacokecoke but they were perhaps fortunate to keep 14 men on the field after it appeared winger Mateo Carreras made contact with Josh Bassett’s eye.
However, two yellow cards in quick succession for Newcastle duo Greg Peterson and Michael Young in the second half opened the door for Wasps and tries from Shields and West clinched it.
The Falcons went ahead after just three minutes as Joel Hodgson, making his first appearance in six weeks, put over a simple penalty after Wasps collapsed a scrum.
Former Falcons playmaker Jimmy Gopperth levelled the game after 10 minutes with a simple penalty of his own for Wasps, who had most of the possession but struggled to do much with it.
The first try came after 14 minutes and it was the home side who went ahead through Fuser, who touched down following a catch and drive from a lineout.
Hodgson added the extras and then a penalty midway through the half to extend Newcastle’s lead to 13-3.
Wasps were held up over the line with Bassett smothered in the tackle by Carreras and Tom Penny, with the TV cameras picking up a potential eye gouge.
Gopperth added his second penalty of the day but Newcastle scored again before half-time when an errant Gopperth pass was intercepted by Penny and the full-back raced down the right touchline, stepped inside and released centre Wacokecoke to score.
Wasps hit back in the second half when former England flanker Shields dived over from a metre out after a barrage of pressure eventually told.
The introduction of Alife Barbeary also made a difference, with the number eight carrying hard and breaking tackles throughout the second half, while Wasps captain Joe Launchbury also impressed in his first game of the season.
The hosts began to feel the pressure when Peterson and Young were sin-binned for penalties on their own line.
Incessant pressure from the visitors, with their two-man advantage, eventually told after 63 minutes with prop West going over from close range. Gopperth added the extras to put Wasps ahead for the first time in the game.
Newcastle were never able to get going in the second half, as ferocious pressure from the Wasps line forced them into errors, and the visitors saw it out comfortably late on.
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Fuser, Wacokecoke
Pens: Hodgson 2
Tries: Shields, West
Cons: Gopperth 2
Pens: Gopperth 2
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch, 6 Sean Robinson, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Alex Tait.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Sam Wolstenholme, 8 Sione Vailanu, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Theo Vukasinovic, 20 Alfie Barbeary, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Matteo Minozzi.
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Graham Hughes
Source: @Rugbypass & PA