Newcastle experienced yet another hopeless afternoon as they suffered their eighth consecutive loss in the Premiership this season, leaving them firmly at the bottom of the standings. Leicester secured a dominant victory with seven tries, three of which were scored by flanker Tommy Reffell. The team’s performance has been on the rise since their international players returned, but for Newcastle, it appears to be a gloomy winter ahead.
The Newcastle team lacks experienced players and has not won a league game since March. Despite having talented young players, there is a clear lack of senior quality. In fact, the team has only won twice in 2023. Head coach Alex Codling is urging the club’s leadership to make decisions about their long-term plan. Due to financial difficulties in the competition, the Falcons have had to limit their spending, but this was evident in their recent game against a team with many international players.
According to Codling, Newcastle will need to make decisions about their strategy moving forward because they have a group of highly skilled young players. However, this may create challenges in the immediate future. These are the facts of the situation and I cannot sugarcoat them, but I also cannot blame the players.
I am currently working week to week, putting in 100 hours of work. It is a difficult task, as my job now involves trying to improve morale. While it may be tough in the immediate future, there are some incredibly talented young individuals who will benefit the club in the long run. Our challenge is that we lack experienced individuals to support these youngsters. However, we must persevere and keep pushing forward. It’s like being a boxer – you can only take so many hits, but you keep going and eventually, you will land a successful punch.
As a coach, I am compensated for my role. I have a great deal of admiration for the club, as they have had to make difficult choices regarding finances. It becomes especially challenging when we face well-funded opponents each week. I am proud of my players, as they consistently give their all every week. I will never criticize their spirit and unity.
Codling’s mentioned spirit was evident in the first 10 minutes of the game, as Newcastle dominated Leicester and took the lead with a penalty kick by Brett Connon. However, the Falcons faced setbacks as they were penalized and pushed back during the restart. This allowed Leicester’s Handré Pollard to make a successful kick to the corner, leading to Reffell scoring his first try.
After that, Reffell and his team gained control at the breakdown, making it easy for Leicester to display their sharpness that was lacking in the beginning of the season. They went into halftime already earning a bonus point. Next, Matt Scott scored by receiving a quick pass from Ben Youngs and stepping over, followed by Reffell’s second try in the left corner. Jasper Wiese then scored from a short distance, giving Leicester a 26-3 advantage.
In the 55th minute, Reffell completed his third try of the game after a strong maul on the right side, showcasing Leicester’s dominant style and highlighting Newcastle’s weaknesses. The Falcons’ day took a turn for the worse when Pedro Rubiolo, their blindside flanker, received a yellow card for a high tackle on Wiese. With only 14 players on the field, Ollie Hassell-Collins was able to capitalize on his patience on the left wing and score an easy try.
Rewritten: Mike Brown ended the afternoon with a notable seventh try, securing Leicester’s third consecutive victory and a spot in Europe. After only winning one of their first five matches, the team’s recent success has been a boost. The return of Anthony Watson, who had previously been sidelined with a calf injury during the World Cup, will also strengthen the team. Watson had a temporary contract with the Rugby Football Union during the summer but has now re-signed with the Tigers. Head coach Dan McKellar is anticipated to include him in the upcoming European double-header.
McKellar stated that Anthony will be eligible for selection in the upcoming week. He praised Anthony’s skills as a great player, an international athlete, and a British and Irish Lion, highlighting his exceptional performance with the Tigers during the previous season. McKellar expressed excitement at the prospect of Anthony returning and showcasing his abilities once again.