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August 27, 2005

Newcastle Falcons 32 - 11 Glasgow Warriors

Friendly match played at Kingston Park on Saturday August 27th 2005 | One comment

Graeme Beveridge went over for Glasgow's only try
A brisk and satisfying workout for Newcastle Falcons, but a deeply troubling occasion for their opponents.

It would be pushing it to say that Glasgow Warriors were dealt a rugby lesson, but for too much of this game they were trailing far in the wake of the English side.

Newcastle were sharper, faster and more purposeful in the tackle, and their advantage was all the more alarming in light of the fact they flew back from their short Japan tour only a few days ago.

The motif of the match could have been provided by any one of the many occasions when Newcastle's strike runners broke through the Glasgow defence with Scottish tacklers flailing in their wake. That pattern provided the platform from which Newcastle claimed their scores, but their more significant advantage was probably in the tight five, where they have been reinforced by some astute close-season signings.

"I thought we might get a bit more out of them, just in terms of an attacking threat," was Rob Andrew's damnation by faint praise of the Glasgow effort. "We gifted them a try at the end, but we never really got massively tested. There were some phases early in the game when they came at us quite well and their forwards off-loaded the ball well and they were quite physical, but I don't think they put an awful lot together in terms of continuity."

On the basis that it is better to foul up a dress rehearsal than a first night, Glasgow may yet take some good from what was a deeply uncomfortable experience. "That will stand us in good stead," said head coach Hugh Campbell. "The guys now know what standard they have to reach to play top quality rugby. That's the kind of kick in the pants we needed.

"We didn't look as sharp as we should have been, and they did. We looked as if we were still in pre-season mode. When we did have them under pressure we let them off the hook, We gave away too many penalties and we gave them easy territory. We looked like a team that was too rusty."

The assessments of the two coaches were, if anything, on the charitable side, for a more cynical interpretation would conclude that the match revealed a gulf in class between the two sides rather than a subtle difference in the status of their respective preparations. Certainly, Newcastle were a far sharper outfit, but there was a power in the tackle and a generally streetwise dimension that Glasgow struggled to match.

They made some game efforts in the early stages, even dominating the opening exchanges with a swarming attack that deserved the reward of a score, but once Newcastle had stolen back the initiative they were clearly reluctant to hand it back. When the Guinness Premiership dominated possession, they seemed to take ownership of the game as a whole.

Still, it was some credit to Glasgow that 26 minutes had passed before Newcastle crossed for their first try, although they had been riding their luck for at least some of that time. An element of desperation had been evident in the Glasgow defence before the ball was whipped across the line to Tom May on the right wing, but by the time it got there Glasgow had simply run out of tacklers.

Dan Parks narrowed the margin to flatter Glasgow with a couple of calm penalties, but Newcastle got their overdue reward just before the break when Jamie Noon blasted over for their second try, the position earned with a scrum that punished a hair-raisingly rash attempt by Colin Shaw to run the ball out of defence. At 15-6 Newcastle were hardly home and dry, but they were visibly more confident when they resumed for the second half.

That attitude was quickly justified as tries by Phil Dowson and Matt Burke put the match beyond Glasgow's reach. Rory Lamont who appears to have inherited the peroxide bottle from Northampton-bound brother Sean was full of running the Glasgow backline, but the overall pattern disintegrated as rafts of replacements appeared for the closing stages.

Winger Ian Elliott grabbed Newcastle's final try 10 minutes from full-time, with Glasgow's consolation coming near the finish with a try by Graeme Beveridge from a tap penalty move.

Report from the Sunday Herald.

You can see some photos from the game here

Referee D Pearson (RFU)
Kevin Tkachuk
Scott Lawson
Lee Harrison
Gregor Hayter
Craig Hamilton
Paul Dearlove
Andy Wilson
Jon Petrie
Sam Pinder
Dan Parks
Mike Roberts
Andrew Henderson
Andy Craig
Rory Lamont
Colin Shaw
Fergus Thomson
Tim Barker
John Barclay
Graeme Beveridge
Calvin Howarth
Scott Barrow
Eddie McLaughlin
Graydon Staniforth
Stuart Corsar
Dan Turner
Posted by George A Lamont on August 28, 2005 05:55 PM | Reply to this comment


Pity about the "Peroxide bottle" remark and what prompted it.

However, the article is constructive judging by the score. It was a friendly and hopefully lessons were learned!

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