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Johnson the hero as Newcastle see off Perpignan

CHALLENGE CUP REPORT: Flyhalf Louie Johnson kicked 22 points as Newcastle Falcons picked up their first EPCR Challenge Cup victory of the season, beating Perpignan 32-23.

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With both sides winless and out of the competition going into the final pool match, only pride was at stake.

The early exchanges saw successful kicks for both sides as flyhalf Matteo Rodor put the French hosts ahead before Johnson replied.

Johnson then put his side ahead with two further penalties, the second of which was kicked from 40 metres out.

Perpignan scored the first try on 25 minutes when a piece of swift passing released right wing Maxim Granell to score out wide.

The French hosts scored a second try on 34 minutes with left wing Lucas Dubois diving over in the corner to put his side 13-9 ahead.

Perpignan increased their lead to seven points early in the second half through the boot of Rodor.

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But straight from the re-start Newcastle Falcons made a break in the middle and No.8 Freddie Lockwood released replacement scrumhalf Hugh O’Sullivan to score his side’s first try, Johnson converting to level the score.

Johnson kicked his fourth penalty of the afternoon on 65 minutes and then straight from the restart 19-year-old right wingeBen Redshaw went on a mazy run, beating three men to score his side’s second try.

Flyhalf Johnson was in perfect kicking form for Newcastle Falcons and added two further penalties to take his personal total to 22 points for the afternoon.

Perpignan scored a consolation try five minutes from time when fullback Louis Dupichot scored a third score for his beaten side.

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The scorers:

For Perpignan:
Tries: Granell, Dubois, Dupichot
Cons: Barraque
Pens: Rodor 2

For Newcastle:
Tries: O’Sullivan, Redshaw
Cons: Johnson 2
Pens: Johnson 6

Teams:

Perpignan: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Maxim Granell, 13 Job Poulet, 12 Apisai Naqalevu, 11 Lucas Dubois, 10 Matteo Rodor, 9 Sadek Deghmache, 8 Valentin Moro, 7 Kelian Galletier (captain), 6 Samuel M’Foudi, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 4 Bastien Chinarro, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Victor Montgaillard, 1 Akato Fakatika.
Replacements: 16 Vakhtang Jincharadze, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Tristan Labouteley, 20 Marvin Orie, 21 Mathieu Ugena, 22 Alexandre Perez, 23 Freddy Duguivalu.

Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Redshaw, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Cammy Hutchison, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 Josh Barton, 8 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Pedro Rubiolo, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 John Hawkins, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Bryan Byrne (captain), 1 Adam Brocklebank.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Mark Dormer, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 John Kelly, 20 Josh Bainbridge, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Ollie Spencer.

Referee: Federico Vedovelli (Italy)
Assistant referees: Alberto Favero (Italy), Riccardo Angelucci (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

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