Gloucester 28-19 Newcastle: Falcons relegated from Gallagher Premiership
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 04/05/19 6:17pm
Newcastle Falcons have given their backing to director of rugby Dean Richards and assurances of commitment following the club's relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.
The Falcons went into Saturday's game away to Gloucester needing to win to stand any chance of taking their battle for survival to the final week of the regular season, but succumbed to a 28-19 defeat at Kingsholm.
However, within minutes of their relegation to the Championship being confirmed, the club issued a statement allaying any fears Newcastle supporters may have had about what the immediate future holds.
"Despite dropping down a level we are fully committed to securing promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt under the direction of Dean Richards," read the statement.
"While we are confident of a return to the Premiership within a year, it is something we certainly do not take for granted and will approach the competition very seriously.
"We remain fully committed to our playing and coaching staff as well as continued investment in our academy, which continues to produce a steady stream of talented local players."
Newcastle finished fourth last season and appeared in three semi-finals but their rapid decline was underlined by this defeat, their 15th in 21 league matches.
Two tries in the opening half-hour from Micky Young and Sinoti Sinoti gave Newcastle hope and they were competitive throughout but their ill-discipline at a crucial stage gave Gloucester easy points and the hosts went on to record a bonus-point victory.
Gloucester's tries came from Jason Woodward, Danny Cipriani, Charlie Sharples and Matt Banahan with Billy Twelvetrees converting all four. Young, Sinoti and George McGuigan claimed Newcastle's tries with Toby Flood adding two conversions.
Newcastle took a 10th-minute lead with a well-worked try. From inside their own half, Flood and Alex Dunbar executed a wrap around move which saw Dunbar burst 40 metres into Gloucester territory. Flood and Dunbar then made further contributions to send Young in under the posts.
That try was against the run of the play for nearly all of the first quarter was played out in the visitors' 22 but the loss of a couple of line-outs and ill-directed passing prevented Gloucester from capitalising.
However Newcastle were placed under constant pressure and forced into the concession of frequent penalties, which culminated in Flood being sin-binned for killing the ball.
The hosts took immediate advantage when Callum Braley and Cipriani set up a try for Woodward with a conversion from Twelvetrees bringing the scores level after 25 minutes.
Two minutes later, Newcastle responded with a second try when Sinoti burst away from a driving line-out to crash over but, with Flood still absent, the home side took the lead for the first time.
Gutted as we are building the club and the sport in what is a football dominated area. We’ll be back to continue all the efforts on and off the field in what is a generation long task to bring rugby to the north east. That aim won’t be measured on one season. The best is to come. https://t.co/wVex3JlLLH— Mick Hogan (@MickHogan2) May 4, 2019
From a five-metre scrum, Cipriani was left with an easy task to dummy his way over before Falcons suffered another setback when Calum Green was yellow carded for a high tackle on Franco Mostert.
Flood returned but Newcastle incurred two further blows with first Dunbar being forced to leave the field with an arm injury before Sharples out-flanked the cover defence to stroll over. Twelvetrees' touchline conversion gave Gloucester a 21-12 interval lead.
After the interval, Green returned in time to see Gloucester replacement, Lewis Ludlow, take his place in the sin-bin as the home side constantly infringed in an attempt to repel a fierce Falcons' onslaught.
Eventually Falcons' pressure was rewarded when McGuigan finished off a driving line-out to leave his side trailing by only two points going into the final quarter.
The momentum was with Newcastle, but Banahan picked off a Nemani Nagusa pass to run 60 metres to score and Falcons were sunk.