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Page last updated at 21:21 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 22:21 UK

Worcester 31-16 Newcastle

Worcester (14) 31
Tries: Garvey, Tuitupou 2, Wood Cons: Drahm 4 Pen: Drahm

Newcastle (6) 16
Try: Wilson Con: Wilkinson Pens: Wilkinson 2 Drop: May

Worcester's Dale Rasmussen tackles Jamie Noon
Newcastle's Jamie Noon (R) was forced off injured in the first half

Worcester booked their place in the European Challenge Cup final after claiming a deserved win over Newcastle.

The Falcons took the lead with an early Tom May drop-goal but Worcester took charge with tries from the impressive Marcel Garvey and Sam Tuitupou.

Shane Drahm extended Worcester's lead to 17-6 with a penalty before play was halted because of floodlight failure.

Worcester continued to dominate when play resumed, Tom Wood and Tuitupou making sure of the win.

The result means that Newcastle fly-half Jonny Wilkinson will now undergo shoulder surgery which will see him ruled out of England's summer Tests and the rest of the Falcons' floundering Premiership campaign.

The visitors started well but Worcester worked their way back into the game and when England centre Jamie Noon was ferociously tackled in midfield, Garvey picked up the loose ball and evaded a challenge before diving over.

The Warriors began to overpower a lacklustre Falcons pack and they increased their lead when Tuitupou collected Garvey's neat chip after a fine backs move.

Newcastle were hit by a further blow when Noon was forced off injured on 32 minutes with an ankle problem that casts doubt over his participation on England's summer tour.

Wilkinson reduced the deficit with a penalty just before the break but Drahm restored the 11-point lead after scrum-half James Grindal was harshly penalised in front of the posts.

Play was suspended for 15 minutes as officials worked to restore light at Sixways and Wilkinson added his second penalty to make the score 17-9 although he missed another attempt when lock Greg Rawlinson was sin-binned.

Despite being down to 14 men, Worcester wound down the clock by keeping a tight grip on possession and Wood sealed victory with a try from close range on 72 minutes.

Tuitupou then scored his second after collecting Drahm's perfectly-judged chip and although Brent Wilson claimed a late consolation from a charged-down kick, the result was never in doubt.

  • Worcester's director of rugby Mike Ruddock: 
    "Newcastle moved the ball around well, then we conceded the late try, which was a bit of an own goal.

    "At times we lost our way, our kicking game let Newcastle back in the game on the counter attack but our defence kept knocking them back and repelling them.

    "But there was pride, passion and commitment - we really were warriors."

  • Acting Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates:
    "We've now got three league games left this season - two of which are at home - and our fans in the north-east deserve us to put on some performances for them.

    "We're obviously very disappointed with the result and the scoreline tends to get away from you a bit when you are chasing the game.

    "I thought that at 14-6 at half-time we were really in the game, but the 25-minute half-time break (due to floodlight failure) didn't do us any favours at all.

    "The performance was a little bit familiar after what we've seen all year - flashes of really good stuff that was putting people under pressure, but we are just not consistent enough."

    Worcester: Delport; Garvey, Rasmussen, Tuitupou, Benjamin; Drahm, M Powell; Windo, Lutui, Tuamoepeau, Rawlinson, Gillies, Hickey, Sanderson, Horstmann.
    Replacements: Ruwers, Mullan, Bowley, Wood, Arr, Carlisle, Gear.

    Newcastle: M Tait; May, Noon, Flood, Rudd; Wilkinson, Grindal; Ward, Thompson, Hayman, Perry, Sorenson, Buist, B Wilson, Dowson.
    Replacements: Long, Golding, Parling, Winter, Williamson, Dickson, Visser.

    Referee: Peter Allen (RFU)

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