Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 26-19 Harlequins

Rob Vickers
Newcastle celebrate Rob Vickers' late try at Kingston Park
Newcastle Falcons (10) 26
Tries: Latu, Vickers Cons: Willis, Goode Pens: Willis, Goode 3
Harlequins (7) 19
Tries: Walker 2, Ward Cons: Evans 2

Newcastle hooker Rob Vickers' last-minute try secured a dramatic victory over Harlequins to lift the Falcons off the bottom of the Premiership.

The home side raced into an early 10-0 lead after Nili Latu's converted score and Craig Willis' penalty.

Three Harlequins tries in eight minutes either side of half-time, two from Charlie Walker and the other from Dave Ward, then put the visitors 19-10 up.

But three Andy Goode penalties levelled it before Vickers' last-gasp touchdown.

Having recorded only their second win in 10 Premiership outings, Newcastle have now moved above London Irish and up to 11th place, just a single point behind Worcester, while Quins remain in fourth.

Relive Sunday's Premiership action

It was the introduction of veteran fly-half Goode, who came out of retirement to join the Falcons in December, that altered the direction of a match that had looked to be heading the way of Harlequins, who themselves had overcome a 10-point deficit to lead.

Winger Walker's brace and Ward's try behind a rolling maul put Conor O'Shea's side in a commanding position with 20 minutes remaining, knowing victory would lift them up to third in the table after overcoming leaders Saracens in their last Premiership match.

But Goode, on as a second-half replacement, landed three kicks from the tee and set the platform for Vickers to cross with two minutes left.

Newcastle Falcons fly-half Andy Goode:

"I may not have the pace any more but what I have got is bags of experience. When the rain came down we were 19-10 down and it wasn't about panicking, it was about playing in the right areas and, besides, the more I kick the less I have to run.

"Our forwards were magnificent in that closing period. We spoke at half-time about playing in the right areas after we did well to contain them pretty well in the first half, but they came at us really well and finished off some tries, but we didn't make it too hard for them did we?

"We said just 'stick to our system and play in the right areas' and that's what we did. Our forwards were exceptional and they did what I asked them to do and you can't ask for more than that."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea:

"Credit to the Falcons for showing the fighting spirit they did. It's a tough place to come and it's just incredibly frustrating to have come back into the game and then lose it.

"We didn't start as well as we wanted to. We have to look at what we control but if I give the answer I should give and it will be the right answer then I will be in trouble and the report I get back won't allow me to talk about it.

"Andy Goode is a class act and he can pull players around the pitch. He's a quality player and I'm sure London Irish will be disappointed to see his performance today."

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Tait, Harris, Socino, Venditti; Willis, Young; Vickers, Lawson, Vea, Wilson, Robinson, Welch, Latu, Hogg

Replacements: McGuigan, Fry, Ryan, Botha, Mayhew, Takulua, Goode, Powell

Harlequins: R. Chisholm; Yarde, Lowe, Sloan, Walker; Evans (capt), Tebaldi; Lambert, Buchanan, Collier, Horwill, Matthews, Wallace, Ward, Luamanu.

Replacements: Gray, Evans, Sinckler, Merrick, J. Chisholm, Waters, Botica, Swiel.

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