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Falcons make giant leap
Gopperth kicks 20 points to lead Newcastle away from danger zone
Newcastle Falcons boosted their Guinness Premiership survival hopes with a 25-13 victory over Gloucester at Kingston Park.
Having won just one home game in the league this season, the Falcons finally got their act together with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth kicking 20 points and wing Tom Biggs running in a first-half try.
Both sides started nervously but with positive intentions and it was Newcastle who looked the sharper up front.
A driving maul and quick burst by Tane Tu'ipulotu ended in a seventh-minute penalty from Gopperth which gave the Falcons the lead.
Gloucester spurned a great chance to register the opening try when Lesley Vainikolo burst through but Charlie Sharples spilled the ball just metres from the line with no Newcastle player in sight, before Biggs almost went over at the other end after he chased his own kick through.
But Biggs did score when he got on the end of Tu'ipulotu's pass after the big centre had surged through the Gloucester defence. He was brought down just short of the line but got in his pass for Biggs to cross.
Gopperth converted for a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Fly-half Nicky Robinson got Gloucester on the board with a 19th-minute penalty as the Cherry and Whites went up a gear but big tackles from Biggs and Josh Afu on Sharples and Rory Lawson kept them out until Robinson kicked a second penalty after 28 minutes.
Newcastle ended the half on top after several forays through their forwards and Gopperth was off target with a drop goal after Ed Willamson's surge, but the Kiwi was on the mark with a 39th-minute penalty after some powerful carries from Jon Golding, Williamson and Filipo Levi saw Gloucester penalised for not rolling away in the tackle.
Gopperth stretched Newcastle's lead to 16-6 two minutes into the second half with a penalty when Gloucester handled in a ruck and another followed in the 51st minute when the Falcons overpowered the visitors' scrum.
But full-back Alex Tait's knock-on opened the door for Tim Taylor to surge through for a try converted by Robinson in the 60th minute to bring Gloucester back into the game at 19-13.
Gopperth was wide with a long-range penalty attempt but then gave Newcastle breathing space with another big kick in the 65th minute.
The former Wellington stand-off then hammered over a 45-metre shot in the 65th minute to put Newcastle 22-13 in front.
The Falcons' forwards sensed victory and piled in to win another penalty in the 69th minute. Gopperth banging over his sixth three-pointer to seal the win.
|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com