Gloucester rally to see off Newcastle
September 29, 2013
Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees rides a tackle during their clash with the Falcons at Kingston Park
© Getty Images
Gloucester ended their six-year wait for a victory at Kingston Park with a 22-16 victory over Newcastle in their Aviva Premiership clash on Sunday.
Rob Cook and Jonny May both scored for the travelling Cherry and Whites while fly-half Freddie Burns kicked four penalties as Gloucester came from 10-0 down to seal their second win of the campaign and their first in the north east since 2007.
The Falcons sped to an early lead thanks to Tom Catterick's first-minute try and masterful kicking by Rory Clegg but Gloucester hit back in the second half as Burns found his range to claim victory.
Newcastle fired straight from the whistle and crossed for the opening try of the game within 60 seconds. Falcons captain Will Welch broke the Gloucester line and passed the ball to fellow back-rower Ally Hogg, who released wing Catterick for a race to the whitewash.
Newcastle fly-half Clegg then added the extras with a conversion that curled inside the posts despite the swirling conditions as the home side took a 7-0 lead. Newcastle's perfect start almost continued when centre Adam Powell again broke the Cherry and White's line, but his pass to Noah Cato was poor.
Both sides were favouring an open, running game, but Newcastle also had the edge up front, with Gloucester penalised at two consecutive scrums. The second came from a Billy Twelvetrees fumble as the visitors attempted to run the ball from their own 22, which resulted in Clegg extending Newcastle's lead from the penalty tee.
However, Gloucester soon got their first points on the board from the boot of Burns with a simple penalty after Newcastle killed the ball. Newcastle were quickly on the front foot again, though, as they pressurised Gloucester's line from a driving maul.
Despite surviving the initial wave, the Cherry and Whites quickly saw the lead returned to 10 points as Clegg did not miss when another Falcons maul was pulled down. Burns failed to cut the gap by missing a penalty, but the visitors moved back to within five points thanks to Cook's try. The fullback squeezed in at the corner and was awarded the try by the TMO but Burns missed the resulting conversion as Newcastle took a 13-8 lead into half-time.
Gloucester started the second-half strongly, with a good backs move allowing their pack to put pressure on the Falcons' line at the set piece. Newcastle kept the advancing Gloucester attack at bay, but a penalty after centre Henry Trinder was tackled high earned them a shot in front of goal, which Burns duly slotted.
Gloucester were starting to take a grip on the game and they stretched Newcastle up front before dealing a hammer blow with a flowing backs move which put May across the line for their second try of the game. Burns missed the conversion but May's score meant Gloucester were ahead for the first time in the match.
Not to be outdone, Newcastle's black tide swept deep into Gloucester territory and won a penalty, which substitute stand-off Phil Godman gratefully scored to level the match at 16-16 with 20 minutes to play.
Newcastle were their own worst enemy five minutes later when they gifted Burns a penalty close to goal as Gloucester again edged ahead. Catterick then attempted a long-range penalty effort from just inside the halfway line but it drifted wide as Newcastle's hopes faded, with Burns sealing Gloucester's win with another penalty strike.
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies welcomed the psychological boost the victory gave his side. "Newcastle came out really strong which we knew they would and they scored a well-worked try which added pressure to us," Davies said. "But the key for me was we've got to change our mindset as a team and to come away to places like Newcastle, come under pressure and come through - it's really important.
"It helps to change the mindset of the team and it was a huge game in those terms. Some teams have DNA that's built into them and they don't fare well against certain sides. I think it's the first time in seven or eight years that we have come away and won and that is hugely psychologically significant."
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards was left to bemoan a lack of control having held a 10-point lead at one stage. "We had a lot of possession we just didn't know how to use it. If you can't do that you will never win a game," Richards said. "You have to replicate that time and time again and unfortunately we don't seem to be able to do that time and time again.
"That comes back to control and energy as well. Some of the boys aren't quite fit enough and a couple of the boys are carrying bugs from last week as well and we just need to make sure we look at ourselves in the eye and go out and train and play as we train."
Gloucester's Matt Kvesic off loads the ball under pressure © Getty Images
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