Newcastle 24-27 Toulon: Falcons edged out in Champions Cup clash
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/01/19 10:24pm
Toulon claimed a 27-24 win over Newcastle Falcons to secure third place in Heineken Champions Cup pool five and subsequently leave the Falcons bottom of pool five.
There were six scintillating tries shared in an exciting, error-strewn match at Kingston Park, including two in the opening five minutes and three more in a frantic three-minute spell late in the second half.
Newcastle fought back from 20-10 down to lead 24-20, only to immediately concede a heart-breaking winning try to Bastien Soury.
Newcastle struck first after just three minutes, with George McGuigan's inside pass finding Tom Arscott who sent in Josh Matavesi from 30 metres. Toby Flood converted for 7-0.
Two minutes later Toulon were level in controversial circumstances when Daniel Ikpefan roared through to score under the posts with the Falcons players protesting about a double crossing in front of the winger's run.
Referee Dan Jones and TMO Sean Brickell were having none of it and the Newcastle crowd could not believe it as Louis Carbonel converted for 7-7.
Both sides were struggling in the line-out and McGuigan's awful throw wasted a great chance for the home side after 15 minutes but Newcastle were making all the running, only for a series of errors to halt the momentum.
Flood's deft kick into the Toulon goal area caused chaos and Ikpefan saved a certain try when he somehow got his hands on it. From the five-metre scrum No 8 Nemani Nagusa went close but Toulon were offside and Flood kicked a 27th-minute penalty to make it 10-7.
On the half-hour Carbonel's lovely spin out of the tackle allowed Josh Tuisova to power away and send in Filipo Nakosi for a try converted by Carbonel, who then added a 37th-minute penalty for a 17-10 half-time lead.
It could have been more with Mathieu Smaili's touchdown being ruled out as he lost control of the ball as a result of a big Matavesi bear-hug tackle.
Carbonel kicked a 49th-minute penalty and Toulon controlled the second half with some ease as Newcastle's inability to retain possession continued until the 70th minute, when they finally mounted a determined drive and Nagusa forced his way over.
Flood converted and immediately from the restart, Newcastle chased down possession and Matavesi cut through to send in Michael Young, Flood converting again for the Falcons to lead 24-20.
It seemed Newcastle had snatched it, but within two minutes Toulon were back in front as replacement hooker Soury burst through and crashed over, with Carbonel's conversion making sure of a deserved 27-24 win.