Sunday 29 January 2012 – 3.30pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
LV= Cup Group 3 #3
The Golden era at KP has got off to a great start with today’s walloping of Sale in the LV= Cup.
Well, perhaps it didn’t get off to a good start initially as the first 10 or 15 minutes today were pretty awful. But somehow the lads galvanised themselves and ran out 37-7 winners with a bonus point!
With Llanelli (Scarlets) five points ahead of us at the top of Group 3 and Harlequins and Gloucester in second and third respectively, coupled with the fact that our final group match is at Leicester, qualification for the semi-finals seems highly unlikely.
But that’s ok. These games are, as has been said many times in recent weeks, all about building for the rest of the Premiership season.
Have to say though, a few weeks ago I wasn’t that bothered about this Leicester cup game, but got a ticket anyway. I’m quite looking forward to it now.
Today, especially the second half in which we hardly gave Sale a sniff, has really put me in a good mood and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Obviously it wasn’t perfect. You could say we should have scored more in the second half given our dominance. But a win is a win and a bonus point win is a rare treasure for us.
Joel Hodgson has impressed me at fly-half over the last two home games, indeed we started to pick up today after he went on a mazy run on halfway, in contrast to the wasteful kicking earlier in the game.
Although Mark Wilson had a good game, I’d have given man of the match to Adriaan Fondse, who had by a mile his best game for us so far. Dominant in the lineout and did his bit around the park well.
It is great to see Jon Golding back too. Grant Shiells has had a superb season but I feel Golding gives us a bit extra aggression and power. He and Euan Murray could set us a good platform for the rest of the season, especially if Matt Thompson gets back as well.
It’ll be interesting to see who starts at loosehead at Welford Road with Shiells away with Scotland A. I suspect Ashley Wells will get the nod as Jonny G is eased back in, perhaps getting the second 40.
On another note, the (official) crowd of 4,000-odd was quite a few more than I for one had expected. I guess the pre-match kids rugby festival beefed the numbers up a bit.
The drum installed in the South Stand is a decent idea, and people used it well today. The steward supervisor seemed a bit miffed before the game though!
So, a good win and for the most part a good performance. Too bad it wasn’t in the league – we could really use five Premiership points right now!
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