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Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Friday, 22 April 2011 20:13 UK

Newcastle Falcons 13-24 Leicester Tigers

Newcastle (6) 13
Tries: Tu'ipulotu Cons: Gopperth Pens: Gopperth 2

Leicester (10) 24
Tries: A Tuilagi, Smith, Gindal Cons: Staunton 3 Pens: Staunton

Alesana Tuilagi
Alesana Tuilagi went over in the first half for his 11th Premiership try of the season

Leicester secured a home Premiership play-off semi-final and extended Newcastle's relegation worries with a 24-13 win at Kingston Park.

Alesana Tuilagi's converted try cancelled out Jimmy Gopperth's early penalty before another penalty on each side made it 10-6 at half time.

Matt Smith scored soon after the break for Tigers before Tane Tu'ipulotu went over to bring Newcastle back to 17-13.

But ex-Falcon James Grindal's late try denied the hosts a losing bonus point.

Newcastle started well and Gopperth kicked them ahead on 12 minutes after Leicester went off their feet at a ruck.

Alesana Tuilagi soon made amends when he grabbed the ball for a quick tap penalty five metres out, after Falcons entered a ruck from the side, and dived over the line.

Tigers fly-half Jeremy Staunton, who missed his first shot at goal, added the easy conversion.

Falcons were looking to move the ball wide but it back-fired when Rob Vickerman's dropped pass saw the Tuilagi brothers combine and only Gopperth's desperate tackle denied the elder sibling.

Staunton, who endured a torrid opening half, landed a penalty with 10 minutes until the break to make the score 10-3 after Filipo Levi's infringement at the line-out.

Gopperth then pulled three points back after Smith obstructed Luke Fielden, in what appeared to be a professional foul, to end a promising Falcons attack.

Then, on the stroke of half time, Ally Hogg was grateful for the bounce of the ball in goal when it turned away from Manu Tuilagi and into his path after Staunton's kick through.

The second half started with a series of handling errors by the Tigers but with seven minutes gone they put together eight phases before Smith went over from close range and Staunton converted to make it 17-6.

Leicester were in the ascendency but it was the hosts who scored next when Staunton sliced his clearance kick and the Falcons worked the ball well down the left to put Tu'ipulotu in.

Gopperth was again on song to make it 17-13.

Newcastle defended heroically to hold out wave after wave of Leicester attacks with 15 minutes left to earn a five-metre scrum and then cleared their lines after Dan Coles was penalised for not binding.

But with time running out it was Falcons old boy Grindal who darted over from short range to deny his old club a potentially vital bonus point.


Newcastle head coach Alan Tait:
"We have to keep going and target a win against Bath next week.

"It's all or nothing now in our final two games against Bath home and away.

"It's disappointing missing out on the losing bonus point but we have to get on with it.

"There are a lot of sore bodies in the changing room, but they have to get themselves back up for Bath - and I'm sure they will."

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill:
"We'd like to go up against London Irish and in the play-off semi-final with a fully-fit squad and the guys who came in for us today did a really good job.

"Giving Ben [Youngs] and Toby [Flood] a rest will freshen them up for London Irish and the play-offs.

"Our discipline was good today in contrast to last week and while we weren't as accurate as we'd like, it was a good win.

"A lot of sides come here and struggle and we have in the past. Four points is what we wanted and after a sticky patch in the second half that's what we got."


Newcastle: Catterick; Fielden, Vickerman, Tu'ipulotu, A Tait; Gopperth, Pilgrim; Golding, Thompson, Murray; Levi, van der Heijden; M. Wilson, Welch, Hogg.

Replacements: Bobo for Vickerman (55), Young for Pilgrim (47), Shiels for Golding (75), Vickers for Thompson (47), Brookes for Murray (55), Gray for Welch (62), Swinson for Hogg (62).

Leicester: Hamilton; Smith, M Tuilagi, Allen, A Tuilagi; Staunton, Grindal; Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni; Slater, Skivington; Croft, Newby, Waldrom.

Replacements: Twelvetrees for M. Tuilagi (75), Cole for Castrogiovanni (65), Hawkins for Waldrom (75).

Att: 6,476

Ref: Tim Wrigglesworth (RFU)



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see also
Guscott's predictions
25 Apr 11 |  English
Newcastle 15-22 Northampton
15 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 41-41 Gloucester
16 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union


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