Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Double Take

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Double Take

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Hedley

David Walder did a Jonny Wilkinson as Newcastle ended London Irish's unbeaten home Premiership run with a magnificent team performance at the Madejski Stadium.

In driving rain, the Falcons gave a display every bit as impressive as that of England in winning the World Cup in Sydney - and it was Walder who matched the exploits of team-mate Wilkinson down under with a drop goal in the dying seconds to win it for Newcastle.

Walder matched Wilkinson almost point for point with a kicking display of tremendous skill with three penalties and that drop goal. He also gave the pass for Jamie Noon's excellent try. In fact, he went one better than his England team-mate by also kicking the conversion.

Falcons' coach Andrew Blades said: "David Walder was fantastic and he's bouncing around the dressing room telling everyone his percentage of drop goals is better than Jonny's was in the World Cup final!"

Blades, who played for Australia in the 1999 World Cup final, added: "Seriously everyone is really happy for Jonny. They see all the work he puts himself through, all the hours of effort and what happened in the 100th minute of World Cup final when your legs have gone and he sits back in the pocket and drops the winning goal - it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy or better person.

"It was just reward for what he has done and what he has achieved."

Blades was also delighted with the Falcons yesterday - their first away Premiership win since February when they beat Leeds at Headingley.

He said: "It's been a long time coming. We've been close a couple or three times this season and I was just pleased the way the guys fronted up today because we knew London Irish would be a great physical challenge especially in those conditions. They just keep coming at you.

"It's a great confidence builder especially as we played the game the way we wanted by kicking for position and forcing them to clear and putting the pressure on them with runners from deep. …

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