Match reaction: Leeds Carnegie 9-13 Newcastle Falcons

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Sunday 10 February 2013 – 12.00pm
Cross Green, Otley, Leeds
RFU Championship #14

I would like to say that today’s match didn’t go to plan but I’m not actually so sure.

The second half was probably the worst 40 minutes I’ve seen from the Falcons this season but it seemed like our kicking tactics were set in stone, perhaps to give the defence some practice.

Like London Scottish at home, there seemed to be no recognition of the fact that there was another team on the pitch that wanted to win. Heck, Leeds are fourth in the table so they aren’t a terrible side.

If there is any complacency, which would surprise me, it must be gotten rid of now otherwise we will come unstuck in the play-offs.

Fair enough, Leeds didn’t create many clear chances in the second half but it only takes one and had Fred Burdon had someone on his shoulder when he broke through the middle, the score would likely have been tied at 10-10 and who knows what happens then?

The only time the Falcons had a decent attack in the whole of the second half was a scrum late on and from a penalty we went for goal and missed.

Fortunately, the next kick went over, but the Falcons were again content to defend.

The defence was good, but it shouldn’t have needed to be.

We could so easily have lost today and would have deserved it. No doubt some people will use the mud and rain as an excuse but it didn’t stop Leeds playing rugby and there were only four points in it.

The last thing we want is to get a reputation as a team that “doesn’t fancy it” when the weather isn’t perfect.

I’d like to think a couple of changes will be made for Friday. Alex Crockett did nothing of note and I thought Andy Higgins had a poor game. In fact I’d say that Jamie Helleur is the only back who could be satisfied with his game today. Fans were crying out for Joel Hodgson but he remained on the bench.

It was good to see Ally Hogg back though.

I suppose we got the win and are still unbeaten this season. Our aggregate score against Leeds (and Scottish for that matter) should put paid to moans about losing play-offs to “a bad 20 minutes”.

But it would take a quite amazing series of events now to stop us finishing top with a 15-point lead with eight games left and a game in hand.

We need to start putting teams to the sword again like in September and October, winning with a few tries to spare, or things could get hairy come May.

Mind, if it comes to it, I’ll take a one-point aggregate victory in the playoff final.

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

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