Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: Wilkinson's Points Save the Falcons; Basement Side Prove Real Test

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: Wilkinson's Points Save the Falcons; Basement Side Prove Real Test

Article excerpt

Byline: Alan Hedley

Newcastle Falcons 15

Worcester Warriors 12

NEWCASTLE scraped home to late a Premiership win over basement club Worcester thanks to a late Jonny Wilkinson drop goal.

Wilkinson landed all of the Falcons points and his drop goal came with just seven minutes left on the clock as Newcastle held on for a 15-12 victory.

The Warriors scored two classic tries and could have had two or three more. Twice Worcester appeared to be over the line only for referee Rob Debney to rule they had been held up and he also pulled back Thinus Delport for a forward pass when the full-back appeared to be in the clear and going for what could have been the winning score.

"I've spoken to my players and they all reckon they scored - there were some big calls by the referee today," said Worcester director of rugby Mike Ruddock. "I haven't spoken to him yet but I will. That's something I would do normally anyway and there is a very good system in England for us to debate these things with the referees and that's what we will be doing."

Wilkinson kicked four penalties but it was his 73rd minute drop goal that denied Worcester. Ruddock added: "I'm very disappointed, but I'm very proud of my players. We came here today to put Newcastle under pressure and try to make them play from deep and we did that."

Newcastle, without England centre Jamie Noon due to personal reasons, lacked a real cutting edge but their pack stood up well to a bigger Worcester eight and director of rugby John Fletcher was happy to escape with a win.

"I'm obviously happy with the win and we have played a lot better than that and bits of our performance will need looking at - we just never got going and were a bit sloppy," he said. "Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal near the end was fantastic, but that's what you get with Jonny and out commitment and never-say-die attitude saw us through. I feel for Mike and there is no doubt Worcester will win some games before the end of the season, I'm just glad this wasn't one of them."

Loki Crichton missed a sixthminute penalty as Newcastle dominated the first half with little to show for it except two Wilkinson penalties and they ended the half just in front. …

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