Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

May Savours Match-Winner; Falcons Are Flying High after Sixth Straight Victory

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

May Savours Match-Winner; Falcons Are Flying High after Sixth Straight Victory

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

SHOWBOATING was not even in the Falcons lexicon some seven weeks ago, but then two months ago Tom May had never played fly-half.

The all-action No 10 is playing the role the way Steve Bates reckons the position's future is headed.

Perhaps, Bates reckons, the new model of fly-half "just has to run" - but May did more than that, and he precipitated the match-winning score with a big, hard hit.

By the time Chris Malone knew what had hit him, May was screaming towards the line, while also screaming in delight at the crowd. That he had time to savour the moment speaks volumes on Newcastle's recent resurgence.

From relegation also-rans to Premiership all-stars, the Falcons are flying up the league.

Six straight league wins equals their best run since winning the inaugural 1998 title, and so much of the sequence is based around the front five, a teak-tough defence and that man May.

If fly-half play is changing, Bates is happy to watch May progress it in tandem with his team.

"We don't want to play a kicking game all the time," said Bates, "and maybe Tom's first instinct is to run.

"That's been part and parcel of what we have been doing over the last few weeks.

He causes a threat, which people have to be very wary of.

"It begs the question what is the fly-half role, and has it changed a little bit.

"There's not a lot of midfield space from lineouts now mauls are collapsible.

"So we are telling Tom to have a go, and make sure he does not just pass the ball.

"He's got to run and put defences under a bit of pressure there.

"He's strong, powerful and very quick over that short distance. He's proving to be a very dangerous guy there.

"The front five were tremendous again - not just in the scrummage, but also around the park, sapping the strength of a strong Quins pack.

"That has been a real cornerstone of everything we have been doing, along with the defence."

The Falcons took 20 minutes to find their phase-play feet, but defended well and only conceded two Evans penalties.

May reduced the arrears with a penalty of his own, then Tim Visser squeezed into the corner. …

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