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Flying Falcons sink Sharks
Newcastle 34-9 Sale
Powergen Cup, Kingston Park, Sunday October 2
Jonny Wilkinson's return to action coincided with Newcastle's first home win of the season, as they thumped Sale 34-9 in the Powergen Cup.
The hosts wracked up five tries to entertain the home fans, with Mathew Tait particularly influential all afternoon.
The youngster scored the first try of the encounter, which opened the floodgates to braces from Hall Charlton and Matthew Burke.
Tait's breakthrough came just three minutes in and it was a superb example of the flair that the Falcons possess in their backline.
Fly half Toby Flood threw a superb cut-out pass to Burke, who allowed the younger legs of Tait to cruise past Steve Hanley to go over in the corner.
The forwards were also in on the act not long after, producing a series of powerful drives to set up the perfect position for scrum half Charlton to dart over.
Sale then began to manoeuvre their way back into the contest through the boot of Daniel Larrachea, who kicked the Sharks back to a 14-9 scoreline.
However, the visitors were effectively out of the match early in the second period, after John Carter and Nathan Bonner Evans both saw yellow within two minutes of each other.
Such a disadvantage was always going to make a telling difference, particularly with the Newcastle backs in such explosive form, and so it proved.
Rob Andrew's men decided to apply the squeeze from the resulting penalty, taking a scrum rather than the three points, and Burke stole in on the blindside.
With the scores at 22-9, it was time for the introduction of Wilkinson, and the England man made an immediate impact.
Looking to dictate play from his first touch, Wilkinson found Burke with a classic miss pass and the Australian put the game beyond doubt.
The returning Newcastle fly half then provided more reason for celebration, knocking over the conversion in trademark style, before Charlton's second touchdown late on added gloss to a thoroughly impressive Falcons victory.
Newcastle: (17) 34
Tries: Tait, Charlton 2, Burke 2
Cons: Flood, Burke, Wilkinson
Sale: (9) 9
Pens: Larrachea 3
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|Saturday 31st January|
|14:40||Harlequins vs Bath|
|15:00||Leicester vs Northampton|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Ospreys|
|18:30||Scarlets vs London Irish|
|Sunday 1st February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|14:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th February|
|14:00||Sale vs Scarlets|
|14:30||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Bath vs Ospreys|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 8th February|
|14:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com