Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Victory Comes at a Cost

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Victory Comes at a Cost

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Hedley

Newcastle picked up a clutch of worrying injuries and manager Rob Andrew could find himself in hot water for criticising referee Tony Spreadbury after the Falcons scrambled to a Premiership win over Sale at Kingston Park.

Andrew was unhappy with Spreadbury's handling of a poor game in which Newcastle lost three players - Dave Walder, Mark Andrews and Epi Taione - with injuries.

All three must be rated doubtful for Friday night's game at Leicester, although Andrews reckons he will be okay and Walder's bruised thigh could respond to treatment.

Taione's ankle injury, which saw him stretchered off in the second half, could be ligament damage and that could take weeks rather than days to heal.

Andrews will have to take a test to prove he is not suffering from concussion after catching a boot in the head.

No-one was suggesting either Andrews or Taione's injuries were the result of foul play but Andrew wasn't happy and claimed Sale had targeted Walder, although there was no evidence to suggest his injury was as a result of foul play.

"The breakdown was a lottery and a free-for-all," said Andrew. "I wasn't happy with the way David Walder was targeted and I wasn't happy with the officiating. Tony Spreadbury had one of his laissez-faire days and I think he was already on the plane to the World Cup."

Andrew has been known to criticise referees before and he could face RFU disciplinary action for his after-match comments. Fines have been dished before for criticising officials, most notably to former Newcastle skipper Dean Ryan when he was coach at Bristol.

The game was certainly not a violent one but there were a couple of incidents that could attract the attention of the RFU citing officer. Sale coach Jim Mallinder confirmed that second row Chris Jones had come off with a blood injury after being trampled on but added: "We couldn't see what happened whether it was one our own players or someone from Newcastle.

"I agree with Rob that it was a bit of a lottery out there and any side could have won it. I do think we should have won it but you have to give full credit to Newcastle for some magnificent second half defence. …

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