Amlin Challenge Cup Pool Two: Newcastle 6-3 Toulon

Jimmy Gopperth kicks Newcastle to victory over Toulon
Gopperth (right) judged his second-half penalties expertly amid the conditions

Newcastle made it three wins from three in Challenge Cup Pool Two with a famous win over Toulon.

The swirling winds at Kingston Park ensured both sides had to play the conditions and after a bright start by Toulon the Falcons responded well.

The teams turned around scoreless but Jimmy Gopperth landed two early penalties before Julien Dumora struck back for the visitors.

Toulon threatened periodically but the determined Falcons held out.

Although all the pre-match coverage was about the return of former Falcons fly-half Jonny Wilkinson to Kingston Park he never came off the bench and instead it was the gale-force winds that dictated play.

The visitors, who travelled without some of their international stars, played tight and deep and enjoyed early success, which was undone by turnovers in the tackle, with James Fitzpatrick producing multiple steals.

The French side tried to keep the ball in hand and, in turn, Falcons built some good phases and looked more incisive in attack.

Gopperth had to wait 34 minutes before his first shot at goal which, predictably, fell victim to the elements and the first half ended without any score.

From the restart Falcons kicked long and ran straight and hard.

Gopperth guided his 46th-minute penalty home to perfection for the opening score.

Soon after Grant Shiells schooled his former mentor Carl Hayman in front-row play and won a penalty on the half-way line which Gopperth judged superbly to convert for a 6-0 lead.

Euan Murray was held up over the line on the hour and the French heavyweights responded but could not break down the hosts' red-blooded defending.

The result, which gives Toulon a losing bonus point, means Falcons are now undefeated in their last six home fixtures.


Newcastle: Goosen; Eves, Helleur, Fitzpatrick, Shortland; Gopperth, Pasqualin; Shiells, Graham, Murray; Hudson, Van der Heijden; Wilson, Welch, R Mayhew.

Replacements: Hogg for Goosen (75), Catterick for Shortland (41), Chudley for Pasqualin (50), Wells for Shiells (68), Frazier for Graham (80), Tu'ifua for R. Mayhew (50).

Not Used: Fearn, Pilgrim.

Toulon: Rooney; Sinzelle, Bastareaud, Messina, Lapyeyre; Dumora, Magnaval; Roberts, Orioli, Hayman; Mikautadze, Schofield; Gunther, Faosilvia, Rokobara.

Replacements: Chiocci for Orioli (63), Samson for Mikautadze (54), Armitage for Faosilvia (63).

Not Used: Ivaldi, Chilachava, Bonnet, Wilkinson, Palisson.

Att: 5,579

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)