MATCH REPORT | Edinburgh 14 - 10 Newcastle Falcons

Richard Cockerill chalked-up his first victory in charge of Edinburgh, with his charges claiming a hard-fought, 14-10, win over Newcastle Falcons at the home of Melrose, The Greenyards.

Edinburgh controlled possession and dominated territory in the first-half, yet were unable to cross the line with their only points coming through the boot of stand-off Duncan Weir, who slotted two penalties to see his side head into the interval with a 6-0 lead.

The second-half was a much more fluid contest with both sides enjoying periods of real attacking pressure. Newcastle closed the gap initially with a try from full-back Simon Hammersly, yet a penalty from Jason Tovey and a try from his compatriot Jason Harries gave Edinburgh a 14-5 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

The visitors grabbed a late consolation try, but the home side defence stayed strong to close out their opposition and secure the victory.

Head Coach Richard Cockerill said: “It was a better performance than last week and we probably deserved to win. I asked them to match the intensity of last week, and it looked like we did that.

“Newcastle are a good side and we stayed in the battle. We defended for our lives when we needed to and, probably if our execution had been a little better, we could have scored a few more in the first half and probably the same in the second.

“We’ve just got to keep building. I’ll say the same thing to the guys this week as I did last week, and it’ll be the same message in twenty weeks; we’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Edinburgh’s early attacking intent was rewarded with a kickable penalty on four minutes, and Weir made no mistake with the boot to put his side ahead (3-0).

The home side continued to apply pressure in attack, and looked to have scored when Weir danced through the defence to force his way towards the line. However, the ball was knocked out of his hand on approach, letting the opposition off the hook.

Newcastle enjoyed a long period of possession deep in Edinburgh’s half, yet Cockerill’s men stayed resolute in defence and eventually won a turnover to allow them to clear danger.

A high tackle on Magnus Bradbury from Newcastle stand-off Toby Flood handed Weir another easily kickable penalty, with the Edinburgh man making it two from two to extend his side’s lead. (6-0).

Back-row John Hardie and Weir enjoyed an interchange in the Newcastle half to carry their team just metres from the line. The home side continued to push on, yet were held-up as they crossed the line, with referee Mike Adamson blowing the whistle to bring an end to the attack and the half.

HALF-TIME: Edinburgh 6 – 0 Newcastle

Newcastle opened the second-half scoring on 52 minutes as the visiting backline shipped the ball through the hands to expose an overlap and score in the corner through full-back Simon Hammersly. Flood’s conversion attempt struck the post and rebounded away from the bar (6-5).

Relentless work from Cornell du Preez and Fraser McKenzie at the contact won Edinburgh a penalty on Falcons’ 10 metre line, with Jason Tovey taking his chance well to extend his side’s lead on 64 minutes (9-5).

The pressure in attack from Edinburgh started to show as Newcastle continued to give penalties away deep in their own half, with the home side continually opting to kick to the corner.

The men in black and red’s patience paid dividends on 71 minutes when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne spotted Harries free on the blindside and delivered a lovely waited pass to the wing, who raced into the corner for the score. Tovey’s conversion attempt fell marginally wide of the target (14-5).

The visitors gave a prompt reply with Santiago Socino peeling off the tail of a driving lineout maul for his side’s second try of the game. Joel Hodgson missed with the conversion attempt as the clock ticked over the 77 minute mark (14-10).

Newcastle reclaimed possession from the kick-off, but a big hit from Edinburgh dislodged the ball from the hands of the Falcons attacker and from the scrum the ball was blasted into touch to bring an end to the game.

FULL-TIME: Edinburgh 14-10 Newcastle