A League Match Report: Wasps win at Newcastle to qualify for semi finals

Wasps A won 51-26 against Newcastle Falcons to secure a place in the A League semi finals against Gloucester Rugby. 

(Photo credit: Chris Lishman) 

Newcastle started the game strongly and got the first try after just two minutes, when Zach Kibirige pounced on a loose ball to sprint in from halfway. The conversion was added by Falcons fly half Craig Willis to make the score 7-0.  

Brendan Macken then very nearly got Wasps back level as he attempted to intercept a pass on halfway, he unfortunately knocked on with the line free for a run in. 

On 10 minutes the hosts had the chance to extend their lead to 10-0, but Craig Willis was unable to put his penalty attempt between the uprights. Wasps made the most of the reprieve and five minutes later Connor Eastgate made no mistake with his first penalty attempt to bring it back to 7-3. 

The turnover penalties were coming thick and fast for Wasps, as Alex Rieder and Jack Willis dominated the breakdown area. From one such penalty, Wasps Senior Academy fly half Eastgate smashed over his second attempt from 40 metres to reduce the lead to one point. 

On the half hour mark Wasps hit the front for the first time, thanks to Will Rowlands barnstorming try. Rowlands got over the line for Wasps' first try after smashing his way through Nili Latu on the 22 and sprinting in. Craig Hampson added the conversion to make it 7-13. 

Both sides pushed for tries before the break, but handling errors at vital moments prevented the two teams adding to the scoreline. 

Newcastle started the second half brilliantly scoring two quick-fire tries in the opening three minutes through Sam Egerton and Adam Radwan. Those two quick scores took Newcastle into the lead 19-13. 

Wasps responded well to going behind and after Jack Willis had been held up over the line, Frank Halai came off his wing to slide over under the posts. Captain Hampson added the conversion to put Wasps back in the lead 19-20. 

That lead was extended twice by Brendan Macken just before the clock had ticked over to 60 minutes. Macken's second try securing the all important bonus point and racing the score out to 19-34. 

With Eastgate forced off the pitch Macken was moved into fly half and showed his great range of passing for Wasps' next score. His looping long pass out to Frank Halai, allowed the left wing to dot down in the corner. Macken couldn't add the extras with a difficult first assignment from the tee out wide. 

With 10 minutes left, Wasps were well in the groove and playing some scintillating stuff. That was typified by the visitors next score, as a break from Nick De Luca, was finished off by a combination of Owain James and then Will Porter. Macken made no mistake with his second effort to convert making it 19-46. 

Before the final whistle there was time for a consolation try to Newcastle's replacement winger George Wacokecoke and a final Wasps breakaway try for Owain James. With time up on the clock Macken decided to give the final conversion attempt to the retiring Nick De Luca, but the Scottish centre couldn't quite add another two points to the fantastic performance.   

Scorers:

Newcastle:
Tries: Zach Kibirige, Sam Egerton, Adam Radwan, George Wacokecoke 
Conversions: Willis (2), Connon. 

Wasps:
Tries: Rowlands, Halai (2), Macken (2), Porter, James  
Conversions: Hampson (4), Macken   
Penalties: Eastgate (2)

HT: 7-13

Wasps A
15 Piers O’Conor
14 Tom Howe
13 Brendan Macken
12 Guy Armitage
11 Frank Halai
10 Connor Eastgate
9  Craig Hampson (c) 
1 Tom West
2 Carlo Festuccia
3 Tom Heard (Nottingham RFC)
4  Marcus Garratt
5  Will Rowlands
6  Jack Willis
7  Sam Harry (Coventry RFC]
8 Alex Rieder

Replacements
16 Luke Cole (Rotherham Titans) 
17 Harry Morley (Nottingham RFC)
18 David Langley (Cambridge RFC)
19 Ehize Ehizode
20 James Seabrook (Wasps Academy U18)
21 Will Porter (Wasps Academy U18)
22 Nick De Luca
23 Owain James

Newcastle Falcons A 

15 Dan Marshall
14 Adam Radwan
13 Belisario Agulla
12 Fred Burdon (c)
11 Zach Kibirige
10 Craig Willis
9 Sam Egerton
1 Ben Harris
2 Ben Sowrey
3 Scott Wilson
4 Will Witty
5 Harrison Orr
6 Nili Latu
7 Tyrone Holmes
8 Opeti Fonua

Replacements
16 Jamie Blamire
17 Alex Rogers
18 Andrew Foster
19 Glen Young
20 Max Davies
21 Ruaridh Dawson
22 Brett Connon
23 George Wacokecoke