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Premiership

Falcons 31 Harlequins 40

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Nathan Earle scoring the Falcons’ third try


Saturday 10 September 2022

Newcastle Falcons had to make do with a bonus point as they opened the Gallagher Premiership with a narrow but pulsating home defeat to Harlequins.

Leading 17-14 at half-time, late tries from Alex Dombrandt and Joe Marchant proved the difference on a day when both clubs paid pre-match respects to Her Majesty The Queen.

Harlequins had the first scoring opportunities of the game with a pair of penalties ten metres out in front of the posts, but their decision to call for the scrum on both occasions saw them leaving empty-handed.

The Falcons made the most of their opening chance when George McGuigan was driven over for a try from a maul in the right corner, the home side having kicked a penalty to touch.

TMO Claire Hodnett denied the Londoners a try after ruling a knock-on in front of the posts, but there was no such reprieve two minutes later when quick footwork from Tyrone Green saw the South African full-back scoring near the posts.

Tommy Allan’s conversion put his side two points in front, and they added another seven to the buffer before the half-hour when prop Wilco Louw ploughed over from close range for a second converted try.

The Falcons levelled the try-count, if not the score-line, on 32 minutes when Adam Radwan scorched a path down the right-hand tramlines from turnover ball, the winger showing incredible pace to score from inside his own half.

Connon’s touchline conversion bounced back off the post to leave his side down by four, but Newcastle’s scrum was as good as a try just before half-time when Harlequins opted for a set-piece from a penalty ten metres out, only to be shoved off their own put-in.

That momentum continued right up until the break, with a Nathan Earle try giving the Falcons a 17-14 half-time lead.

The former Harlequins winger sped 80 metres on the intercept for a try down the left-hand side, having shown great skill to pick the ball off his bootlaces, Connon adding the extras with the final kick of the half.

It was the visitors who drew first blood after the interval, kicking a penalty to the right corner from which hooker George Head was driven over for a converted try.

Centre Lennox Anwanyu extended their lead to 11 points when he was quickest to a loose ball down the right to register their bonus point try, with Allan once again converting.

The Falcons chalked up a four-try bonus point of their own on the hour mark when McGuigan scored from a maul in the right corner.

Connon slotted the touchline conversion to cut the deficit to four, and he did so again on 66 minuts to hand his team the lead when Logovi’i Mulipola barrelled over the try-line from a close-range carry down the left.

Quins struck the killer blow, however, with four minutes to go when No 8 Alex Dombrandt wriggled out of a tackle to score down the left, Joe Marchant denying them a second bonus point with the very last play.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock (George Wacokecoke, 75), 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Brett Connon (Tian Schoeman, 75), 9 Josh Barton (Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 55); 1 Phil Brantingham (Logovi’i Mulipola, 55), 2 George McGuigan (Charlie Maddison, 75), 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 65), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves (George Merrick, 65), 6 Sean Robinson (Tom Marshall, 75), 7 Jamie Blamire, 8 Will Welch (captain).

Scorers – Tries: George McGuigan 2, Adam Radwan, Nathan Earle, Logovi’i Mulipola. Conversions: Brett Connon 3.

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Nick David, 13 Luke Northmore (Joe Marchant, 40), 12 Lennox Anyanwu, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Lewis Gjaltema; 1 Joe Marler (Joe Marler, 52), 2 George Head (Jack Musk, 52), 3 Wilco Louw (Will Collier, 52), 4 George Hammond, 5 Irne Herbst (Dino Lamb, 68), 6 Jack Kenningham (Will Evans, 30), 7 Tom Lawday, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain).

Scorers – Tries: Tyrone Green, Wilco Louw, George Head, Lennox Anyanwu, Alex Dombrandt, Joe Marchant. Conversions: Tommy Allan 5.

Referee: Luke Pearce. Attendance: 5,025.

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby


Premiership

Match Report: Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps

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Match summary – Bath Rugby 31-39 Wasps

Bath Rugby took away a try-bonus point from a game which saw them make a much improved effort in the second half, but Wasps held on to victory at the death. 

In a game of two halves, the visitors raced into 25-0 lead before Matt Gallagher’s converted try on his home debut just before half-time. 

Jacob Umaga added two penalties late in the first half but it was Bath who rallied and showed a lot of fight to score a further three tries through Tom Dunn (2) and Jonathan Joseph.  

Piers Francis’ penalty made it five-point game late on as Bath pushed to win the game but a last-gasp kick from Umaga meant they had to settle for just one point.


TEAM NEWS

Johann van Graan made eight changes to his starting XV with a new half-back pairing in the form of Louis Schreuder and Orlando Bailey both getting their first starts of the season. 

Also getting their first run out of 2022/23 at were Miles Reid, Max Ojomoh and Quinn Roux – the latter making his Blue, Black and White debut.

Wasps put both Willis brothers – Jack and Tom – in their back row, while England international Joe Launchbury continued as captain.

Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Tom Dunn ©, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Josh McNally, 6 Miles Reid, 7 Chris Cloete, 8 Richard de Carpentier

Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Aranos Coetzee, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Max Green, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Josh Bayliss

Wasps: 15 Jacob Umaga, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Will Porter; 1 Tom West, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Biyi Alo, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 5 Kiran McDonald, 6 Nizaam Carr, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Tom Willis

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 John Ryan, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Zach Kibirige


FIRST HALF

Bath started the game brightly and were the better side in the first 10 minutes and brought physicality in both attack and defence – captain Dunn and Miles Reid leading from the front. 

But it was Umaga who grabbed the game’s opening points with two penalties in as many minutes and three tries in quick succession earned Wasps a solid scoreline advantage. 

Josh Bassett collected his own kick to dot down in the corner before Jack Willis’ close range burrow was confirmed by the TMO. Scrum-half Will Porter finished off a smart handling move to make it 25-0 on the half-hour mark. 

Just shy of the halfway mark, Bath did manage to string an impressive phase together to cross the whitewash. Orlando Bailey spotted a gap and sent a rampaging Will Muir on his way and the wing fed Gallagher in for his first try in Bath colours.

Umaga further added to his tally with two penalties as the first-half clocked ticked down.

SECOND HALF

Schreuder was unfortunate to be sin binned early in the second half and Wasps made the most of their man advantage with Bassett crossing for his second.

However, the Blue, Black and White were cheered on by The Rec in full voice and captain Dunn soon came through the back of a well-driven maul to score Bath’s second.  

Bailey converted with aplomb to close the gap and having found some momentum, and with the impact players putting their stamp on the game, Joseph soon came crashing over the line with a bit of neat footwork to score next to the posts.

Holding off Wasps with hard hits and strong carries, Dunn scored once again from the back of a maul, earning Bath a try bonus point, and hope of a comeback was well and truly in the air.

Francis put Bath in with a chance of securing victory with a penalty, making it 36-31 with moments to play, but with the clock ticking down, Umaga snatched away a second Bath point with a penalty to end the game at 39-31 to the away side.

An encouraging show of fight in the second 40 and something to build for Bath as they head to London Irish in Round 4.


Pol Roger performance of the match


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Premiership

Press Conference Notes 23.09.22

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Director of Rugby Steve Diamond spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at Sixways (3pm).

Here’s what Steve had to say:

Is the club in administration?

  • I can’t confirm that, no. I have heard the same rumours.
  • Whether it’s convenience or good timing or poor timing, the public liability insurances for the club are up on Monday so we are in limbo from then anyhow.
  • If there’s no public liability insurance we won’t be able to train at the stadium. We will have to train off-site.
  • Something will have to happen either the said investor who is negotiating or administration.

What did you make of Robin Walker MP’s speech?

  • I thought it was an excellent debate – it’s the first time my name has been mentioned in Parliament by the way.
  • He was very passionate and it was what people want to see and hear, some facts and some honesty.
  • We have been in this period of near-purgatory for some time now and it seems to be coming to a head with us potentially being suspended on Monday.

Have you heard from the owners?

  • I had a text on Sunday but that has been it.
  • Because I have not had any dialogue with them I can’t speak for them. But it would be bizarre to let a business go into real uncharted waters by having a team suspended because they can’t pay the insurance cover in case people slip in the stands. It would also be unprofessional.
  • I don’t know how we have got this position. It’s sad and it’s diabolical that it’s been allowed to walk itself to the graveyard virtually. I never thought it would get to this position, but it has.
  • The rugby for the players and the staff – most of them are volunteering now – is a welcome relief.
  • The result is unimportant to me. Just getting 23 lads out to give it their best shot is all I’m interested in.
  • If people had the same mindset behind the scenes that I have then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

Have you ever though it’s not worth it?

  • No, not even today. If the right people come in with the right vision then it will be a success.
  • It’s been run poorly, incredibly badly, and it needs re-booting. At least I have had six months to work out how badly it has been run.
  • With a fair wind behind us and some serious finance in reserve – not to use on celebrity names in the playing staff – just to reboot the club from Academy to the top. You wouldn’t need to be Warren Buffet to do that.
  • We need to build relationships with the rugby club across the road where there is no relationship – which I find ridiculous.
  • The local community have shown what they are about in bucketloads. I’ve had personal messages from sponsors, potential sponsors and potential investors. Everyone wants it to work and that’s where I get my enthusiasm from.

What are your over-riding emotions?

  • I don’t feel let-down. I have had the foresight to see that, for whatever reason, there has been no financial control and no real graft in the business.
  • Every rugby club had to take emergency steps through the Covid period with DCMS and HMRC allowing payment windows.
  • But you have to stay on-side with these people. Generally that comes from being a good communicator and as we have seen over the past month that has been very poor.
  • If it’s very poor with people who give blood for them on a Saturday afternoon then you can only imagine it being a lot worse to people at the end of a phone.

How are the players mentally?

  • They are remarkably good. We had a good chat again this morning and the over-riding mentality is that we want to play the game.
  • For the right reasons. We are in the political window but I don’t want the team to be in that position. I can handle that position.
  • It does put pressure on by us playing because the staff are working for nothing, the volunteers have been fantastic and we get so much goodwill that if we don’t play the attention will come onto the team and that’s not what we are about.
  • But if the deadline is not met by the powers-that-be on Monday then we will be suspended.

How long might you be suspended for?

  • There are some assurances that it wouldn’t be fatal. But you can’t have a team not playing for five or six weeks and then put them back in again.
  • I am assuming if we are suspended and we do go into administration then it will be a two or three week process. We could be playing after the break when we have a bye week in two weeks’ time.
  • The disappointing thing is how this has kept going and meandered. I asked the RPA this morning whether they had jumped in now because the insurance is up on Monday.
  • We are playing with a lot of livelihoods and 70 per cent of those livelihoods haven’t been fully paid.

Injuries

  • Ted Hill is nearly there with his hamstring but we don’t want to risk him.
  • Renato Giammarioli is waiting on his visa.

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Ludlam, Lawes, Biggar and Freeman make Saints return for 250th Derby

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Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made seven changes to his Northampton Saints side to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday, with four internationals in Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Tommy Freeman all returning to the starting line-up.The men in Black, Green and Gold take on their local rivals in the first East Midlands Derby of the 2022/23 season – and the 250th ever played in a milestone clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.Saints lost all three meetings between the sides last term, including an evenly-contested Gallagher Premiership semi-final, but will be hoping to replicate the sort of form which has seen Northampton win their last five league matches on home soil (the Club’s longest winning run at the Gardens since 2015).Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns for the first time this season for Saints in the back row and is joined by England captain Courtney Lawes, with the pair having completed their rest period following the summer’s international tour to Australia.No.8 Juarno Augustus – who has driven through more metres in contact than any other Premiership player in the league’s opening two rounds – completes the back row, while Alex Coles moves up into the engine room to partner Australian lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.There are changes to Northampton’s front row too; Sam Matavesi continues at hooker but props Emmanuel Iyogun and Alfie Petch both earn their first starts of the season to pack down either side of the Fiji international.Wales skipper Biggar (who was due to return in last weekend’s victory over London Irish before illness ruled him out of the clash) pulls on the No.10 jersey for the hosts, with the Premiership’s player-of-the-round Alex Mitchell continuing at scrum-half.Fraser Dingwall returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, prompting a reshuffle in Saints’ backline as Matt Proctor moves to the wing and Rory Hutchinson continues at inside centre.England internationals George Furbank and Tommy Freeman round off the back three for Northampton for the crucial clash, with the likes of Tom James, Paul Hill, Angus Scott-Young and Tom Collins all primed to make an impact off the bench.A small number of tickets remain for the East Midlands Derby, with prices starting from £42 adult / £12 child*. Please CLICK HERE to purchase now.NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERSGallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3Saturday 24 September 2022cinch Stadium at Franklin’s GardensKick-off: 3pm15 George Furbank14 Tommy Freeman13 Fraser Dingwall12 Rory Hutchinson11 Matt Proctor10 Dan Biggar9 Alex Mitchell1 Emmanuel Iyogun2 Sam Matavesi3 Alfie Petch4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto5 Alex Coles6 Courtney Lawes7 Lewis Ludlam (c)8 Juarno AugustusReplacements:16 Mike Haywood17 Ethan Waller18 Paul Hill19 Alex Moon20 Angus Scott-Young21 Tom James22 James Grayson23 Tom CollinsNot considered for selection:Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Alex Waller and Karl Wilkins.Referee: Karl DicksonAssistant referees: Dan Jones and Jamie LeahyNo.4: Dean RichardsTMO: Stuart Terheege* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Please note, ticket prices rise by £3 per ticket if purchased on matchday.

Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has made seven changes to his Northampton Saints side to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday, with four internationals in Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Tommy Freeman all returning to the starting line-up.

The men in Black, Green and Gold take on their local rivals in the first East Midlands Derby of the 2022/23 season – and the 250th ever played in a milestone clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints lost all three meetings between the sides last term, including an evenly-contested Gallagher Premiership semi-final, but will be hoping to replicate the sort of form which has seen Northampton win their last five league matches on home soil (the Club’s longest winning run at the Gardens since 2015).

Club captain Lewis Ludlam returns for the first time this season for Saints in the back row and is joined by England captain Courtney Lawes, with the pair having completed their rest period following the summer’s international tour to Australia.

No.8 Juarno Augustus – who has driven through more metres in contact than any other Premiership player in the league’s opening two rounds – completes the back row, while Alex Coles moves up into the engine room to partner Australian lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

There are changes to Northampton’s front row too; Sam Matavesi continues at hooker but props Emmanuel Iyogun and Alfie Petch both earn their first starts of the season to pack down either side of the Fiji international.

Wales skipper Biggar (who was due to return in last weekend’s victory over London Irish before illness ruled him out of the clash) pulls on the No.10 jersey for the hosts, with the Premiership’s player-of-the-round Alex Mitchell continuing at scrum-half.

Fraser Dingwall returns from injury to take his place in the starting line-up, prompting a reshuffle in Saints’ backline as Matt Proctor moves to the wing and Rory Hutchinson continues at inside centre.

England internationals George Furbank and Tommy Freeman round off the back three for Northampton for the crucial clash, with the likes of Tom James, Paul Hill, Angus Scott-Young and Tom Collins all primed to make an impact off the bench.

A small number of tickets remain for the East Midlands Derby, with prices starting from £42 adult / £12 child*. Please CLICK HERE to purchase now.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS vs LEICESTER TIGERS
Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Round 3
Saturday 24 September 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
Kick-off: 3pm

15 George Furbank
14 Tommy Freeman
13 Fraser Dingwall
12 Rory Hutchinson
11 Matt Proctor
10 Dan Biggar
9 Alex Mitchell

1 Emmanuel Iyogun
2 Sam Matavesi
3 Alfie Petch
4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
5 Alex Coles
6 Courtney Lawes
7 Lewis Ludlam (c)
8 Juarno Augustus

Replacements:
16 Mike Haywood
17 Ethan Waller
18 Paul Hill
19 Alex Moon
20 Angus Scott-Young
21 Tom James
22 James Grayson
23 Tom Collins

Not considered for selection:
Matthew Arden, Callum Burns, James Fish, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Alex Waller and Karl Wilkins.

Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Dan Jones and Jamie Leahy
No.4: Dean Richards
TMO: Stuart Terheege

* All ticket prices are subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Please note, ticket prices rise by £3 per ticket if purchased on matchday.

Content & Images from – Northampton Saints Rugby


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