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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007, 16:48 GMT
Leicester 39-5 Newcastle
Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson's appearance could see him start for England next week

Leicester 39 (20)
Tries: Jennings, Crane, Ayerza, Varndell 2
Cons: Burke 3, Humphreys
Pens: Burke 2

Newcastle 5 (5)
Try: Elliot

Newcastle fly-half Jonny Wilkinson came through his latest comeback from injury but could do nothing to prevent his side crashing to a heavy loss.

Wilkinson appeared from the bench on 37 minutes after his side were reduced to 13 men with the Tigers 13-5 ahead.

Leicester's Jordan Crane scored another try just before the break and the Tigers took control in the second half.

Prop Marcos Ayerza was barged over on 58 minutes before two late Tom Varndell tries sealed a comfortable victory.

The return of the injury-prone Wilkinson, who has been out for 12 weeks with a lacerated kidney, will give new England coach Brian Ashton a timely reminder ahead of the Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday.

Wilkinson has not played for his country since the victorious World Cup final in 2003 but slotted into the Newcastle team seamlessly, distributing well and throwing himself into defence.

Toby Flood meanwhile, favourite to start at number 10 for England, had a game he would rather forget - missing a two penalties and a conversion attempt.

Paul Burke had kicked two early penalties for Leicester before Falcons full-back Anthony Elliott was sent over after some good work from the England trio of Toby Flood, Mathew Tait and Jamie Noon.

Shane Jennings increased Leicester's lead to 13-5 before Wilkinson entered the fray on 37 minutes after Jason Oakes and Russell Winter saw yellow.

Tigers number eight Crane took advantage of the numerical advantage by strolling through the threadbare Falcons defence soon afterwards.

And when Ayerza was driven over for his first try for the club on 58 minutes, there was no way back for the Falcons.

  • Leicester coach Pat Howard:
    "At 6-5, it was fairly tight - not as one-sided as the score suggests.

    "Losing a couple of guys to the bin distorted the score going into half-time.

    "It wasn't perfect from us but, defensively, I thought we worked very hard and didn't give them a lot of opportunities to score."

  • Newcastle coach John Fletcher:
    "We were shabby, to be honest. We never got into the game. Our basics and decision-making were poor.

    "Getting two guys in the sin-bin away to Leicester - you're not going to win games doing that.

    "I thought both were pretty tough decisions and maybe there was some inconsistency."

    Leicester: J Murphy; Lloyd, Rabeni, Vesty, Varndell; Burke, F Murphy; Ayerza, Buckland, Holford; Hamilton, Kay, B Deacon, Jennings, Crane.
    Replacements: A Tuilagi for Lloyd (58), Humphreys for Burke (65), Ellis for F. Murphy (56), Castrogiovanni for Holford (53), Corry for B. Deacon (60), T Croft for Jennings (53).
    Not Used: Chuter.

    Newcastle: Elliot; May, M Tait, Noon, Crighton; Flood, Grindal; McDonald, Thompson, Ward, Sorenson, Oakes, Parling, Woods, Winter.
    Replacements: Wilkinson for Elliot (39), Mayerhofler for Crighton (65), Dickson for Grindal (54), Long for Thompson (50), B Wilson for Winter (54).
    Not Used: Golding, Buist.

    Sin Bin: Oakes (28), Winter (37).

    Att: 16,500

    Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

    Munster 6-13 Leicester
    20 Jan 07 |  Munster
    European Challenge Cup review
    20 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union
    Newcastle 31-29 Leicester
    07 Jan 07 |  English


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