Match reaction: Newcastle Falcons 16-6 Connacht Eagles

Britain snow

Saturday 12 January 2013 – 3.00pm

Kingston Park, Newcastle

British & Irish Cup Pool 4 #5

Well, what to make of that scoreline? I guess it would be a lot easier if I’d been at the game. Most people seem to agree that the Falcons did not perform well, some even going as far as saying some of the backs played themselves out of our future, but the conclusions differ.

In the run-up to the game I was hoping that the scoreboard, almost embarrassed in the Newport home game, would tick over the 99 mark, after all this week most of Connnacht’s rugby interests will have been focused on their first team’s Heineken Cup game at Harlequins that also took place yesterday.

Following the first half on Twitter while watching ‘Africa’ on the iPlayer, and the second half while walking to Covent Garden to meet wor lass and her friends after they’d been to the ballet, I could not believe the continued low scoreline.

It seems the Eagles defended very well and all credit to them for that, as if we did indeed dominate possession and territory then its difficult to defend for almost 80 minutes. Connacht appear to have improved a lot since our bonus-point win in Athlone back in October, though it is said that they drafted in some more senior players for the KP game yesterday.

So what to conclude? Some believe that this is further evidence that we are still not ready to compete in the Premiership, with poor decision-making and execution. It doesn’t back up the plan to play attractive rugby.

However, others have pointed out that this was a cup pool match, and we have this and next week at Cross Keys to finish the experimenting before firing into the final months of the Championship, where we have been promised a better and more settled team. Of course the Falcons did also win the game and are now definitely in the quarter-finals. Unless Warren Fury is cup-tied.

We do have to remember that some of the players in the backs have played very little rugby this season – Fitzpatrick, Luveniyali, Higgins – and there is a reason for that. Someone on Twitter suggested that Luvey is the worst player they’ve ever seen. I’m not sure I’d go that far (surely he’s not worse than Grant Anderson?) but I haven’t been impressed so far.

I’m not sure we’ll see any of those three at KP next season. Fitzy maybe, I quite like him.

The crowd seems to have been quite low – someone on the internet offered the famous forfeit of showing their backside in Fenwick’s window if there were actually 3,800 at KP. Personally, I’ll wait until I hear the Queen shout “Wey aye man”.

Perhaps there are reasons for that, such as season ticket holders catching up on other things after Christmas rather than standing out in the cold watching us play a reserve team. But then if they thought they would see a display of strong, attacking rugby, they probably would have been more inclined to come.

I guess we’ll see at the Pirates game.

As for now, personally I’m looking forward to a weekend in Wales next weekend for the Cross Keys game. The small size of the village means booking a hotel in Cardiff, and the last time I slept there was on my cousin’s wooden floor on Millennium Eve. Looking forward to not waking up with sore ribs to go along with a sore head this time.

(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)


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