Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 24-24 Worcester Warriors – Honours even in rearranged game

Adam Radwan scores Newcastle's second try against Worcester
Adam Radwan marked his return from England duty with Newcastle’s second try
Newcastle (12) 24
Tries: McGuigan 2, Radwan, Cooper Cons: Hodgson 2
Worcester (10) 24
Tries: Beck, Hatherell, Searle Cons: Smith 3 Pen: Smith

Worcester drew their rearranged game at Newcastle after Fin Smith converted Billy Searle’s late Warriors try.

Falcons were 12-10 up at half-time with George McGuigan and Adam Radwan tries, Ashley Beck replying for Warriors.

Warriors led when Kyle Hatherell went over early in the second half before McGuigan’s second made it 17-17.

Newcastle looked set to win when Kyle Cooper crossed but Searle went over in the left corner with four minutes left and Smith converted from the touchline.

The match was moved from Friday due to the impact of Storm Arwen in the north east of England.

But the two sides still had to contend with snow flurries and bitter temperatures on a tricky night at Kingston Park.

Moving the match to the following evening also meant referee Wayne Barnes was without the services of Craig Maxwell-Keys as his television match official as on-site production trucks were no longer available for the replays.

Newcastle also enlisted the services of non-playing members of their squad to help serve drinks behind the stadium bars due to unforeseen staff shortages.

Both sides were also forced into making changes to their original line-ups.

Worcester were without British & Irish Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe as he failed a late fitness test with a sore neck while Sam Stuart withdrew for Newcastle.

Once the match did get going, it was the hosts who started brighter.

McGuigan and Radwan crossed within five minutes of each other, the former under a rolling maul and the England winger with a finish from 30 metres back after a set line-out move.

But Warriors centre Beck charged down an attempted clearance just before the interval to bring his side within two points.

They then took the lead on 49 minutes when back row Hetherell powered over from close range following initial breaks from Ted Hill and Gareth Simpson.

McGuigan scored again in similar fashion to his first in the right corner and after a couple of delays for injuries on both sides midway through the half, it seemed set to finish 17-17.

Replacement prop Cooper scored Falcons’ bonus-point try – and what appeared to be the match-winner – with seven minutes left when he took advantage of a quickly-taken penalty .

However, Worcester’s response was almost immediate when Searle went over in the left corner and, on only his fifth Premiership start, teenage stand-off Smith held his nerve to kick the touchline conversion.

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

“We probably should have taken five points. Full credit to Worcester. When they had chances, they took them and we didn’t take ours.

“It was always going to be a game of two halves with the wind and the weather being as it was. Having the wind behind us in the first half, you’ve got to capitalise and we didn’t.

“We went into the break two points up at half-time when we probably should have gone in 15 to 20 points up which we didn’t do.

“We will look at our defensive frailties and why we conceded the easy tries that we did, but, at the same time, we scored four tries and probably should have scored another four.”

Warriors head coach Jonathan Thomas told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

“It was great courage from Fin Smith to nail that kick in a big moment. But I’m really proud of the character of the whole team. Sometimes it’s not about all the technical or tactical stuff.

“It’s been a testing a few days – and the biggest thing I spoke to the players about was our mindset. That Warrior mindset. And being camped up in a hotel like that for three days can bring a team together in adversity.

“There’s been so many things thrown at us in the last three days. We weren’t sure if the game was going to be played and then there’s obviously the conditions. We weren’t sure if it was going to be wind, snow or frost.

“But the biggest thing we spoke about before the game was let’s have a no excuses mentality. We knew it was going to be tough but we didn’t want to use all that as an excuse.

Newcastle: Brown; Radwan, Wacokecoke, Lucock, Stevenson; Hodgson, Schreuder; Brocklebank, McGuigan, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, Van der Walt, Welch (capt), Fearns.

Replacements: Blamire, Cooper, Tampin, Chick, Graham, Nordli-Kelemeti, Haydon-Wood, Penny.

Worcester: Shillcock; Hearle, Venter (co-capt), Beck, Humphreys; Smith, Simpson; Waller, Baldwin, Tyack, Garvey, A Kitchener, Hatherell, Hill (co-capt), Vailanu.

Replacements: Annett, Thomas, Judge, Batley, Lewis, Chudley, Searle, Howe.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).


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