Match reaction: Newcastle Falcons 29-0 Newport Gwent Dragons

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Friday 31 January 2014 – 7.45pm

Kingston Park, Newcastle

LV= Cup Pools 1 and 4 #4

Great! For the most part, that was much better. A bit of zip and desire, looking to keep the ball rather than wasting possession, and what happens? A bonus point and a clean sheet.

The first half was probably one of the best shows I’ve seen from the Falcons this season. We pinned Newport back and constantly asked questions of the Welsh defence, scoring a couple of very good tries. Phil Godman’s was especially good, showing a good turn of pace. Godman had quite a good game I thought and looked like he was linking a lot better with Adam Powell.

The second forty were a little more low-key, we got plenty of defensive practice too (not that we really needed that!) but didn’t concede a single point. Part of the reason for that is I guess that the Dragons kept going for a try when they had us under the cosh and Matt Thompson was in the bin, but we still had to hold firm and did so.

Incidentally, it took about twelve minutes on his first game in three months for Thompson to get some abuse in the South Stand after dropping a pass.

As well as Godman, Mark Wilson had another superb game and took both of his tries well. Some people talk about needing a big ball carrier in the back row but Wilson makes a lot of metres already so I don’t think the need is that desperate.

Sinoti Sinoti looks like a lively winger, always looking for the ball and willing to run at players. I don’t think we’ll see too many kicks from him. Gonzalo Tiesi was solid, maybe didn’t get too much opportunity in attack but put in a decent shift on his debut. If I had to pick one player who was perhaps a little below par, I thought Alex Tait didn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as the rest of the team in attack, defended well but he did waste a bit of possession.

Dom Barrow was imperious on his return from injury. This guy isn’t just powerful, he’s quite intelligent too. More than once he was able to change his position in a tackle to make extra metres or offload. If we can keep him fit and, crucially, keep a hold of him, Barrow could well be a big player in our future.

Although the attendance was quite low last night, unfortunately, I did quite like being able to go to the bar at half-time and get served straight away. Among those at KP, there seemed to be a far more positive atmosphere. Hopefully this will be the kick we need to start playing rugby in the most productive way and start pulling away from the drop-zone.

Bath and Harlequins away will be very difficult, but in the end it’s only fifteen versus fifteen so hopefully we’ll be competitive and who knows what might happen?

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

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