Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

No Joy as Falcons Flatter to Deceive

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

No Joy as Falcons Flatter to Deceive

Article excerpt

Byline: By Nick Purewal

John Fletcher left Kingsholm in the pre-Christmas fog intent on returning with all the firepower he could muster come the hour this fixture finally got the green light.

Secretly finding a positive among the murky frustrations of a wasted December 22, he crossed his fingers his full arsenal would be pumped, primed and ready to run for Gloucester take two.

And while the Newcastle director of rugby got his wish, his fabulous five could not wrest victory from the razor-sharp claws of the Cherry and Whites on Saturday.

For all their shimmying and shifting behind the pack, for all their artistry and imagination, Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood, Jamie Noon, Mathew Tait and Matthew Burke could not convert initiative into four points.

Conversely, Gloucester's director of rugby Dean Ryan was furious on that barren December night, when the game against Newcastle was called off less than half-an-hour before kick-off ( he wanted that match done and dusted.

Well, if he thought the second time of asking would be routine, he and his charges were given a rude awakening by a Falcons outfit intent on raiding in the wide channels, or wherever else they could find room to run.

But it was not enough ( last week it was Ben Woods who suffered in defeat despite notching a barnstorming brace, and on Saturday it was the turn of England star Noon.

Two tries from the centre, both before the break, gave the Falcons the lead at the turnaround.

Wilkinson fizzed around, flying into collisions and coming up ( thankfully ( unhurt.

Burke raided with all the old nous, Tait glided between centre and wing and Flood distributed wisely from both 10 and 12.

Fletcher's bold plan was working ( but Gloucester had other ideas.

Ryan Lamb broke the line from a scrum inside Newcastle's half, and fed the ever-marauding James Forrester on the inside to charge home. …

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