1stXV Secure 4 Try Bonus Point At Newcastle
On what can only be described as a truly historic day, Ampthill & District RUFC travelling to Kingston Park, home of Premiership and Heineken Cup participants Newcastle Falcons was a huge honour and for a club of our size, it just doesn’t get any bigger or better than that.
The Newcastle welcome can only be described as incredible and very humbling for all our members, supporters and committee members. If you had said twelve years ago we would be playing Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park in a competitive fixture, most of the town would have laughed at you.
The less said about the first forty minutes the better. After a one-sided and dominant start the hosts had a 33-7 lead at half time and lesser teams would have folded. Amps closed the half with 13 players after Leon Fukofuka was yellow-carded for a high tackle and Dave Ward was also carded for an infringement at a 5m line out.
Playing a Premiership side is hard enough with a full team never mind when outnumbered, A’s conceded 19 points whilst down to 13.
The visitor’s management had their hands full trying to restore some confidence back into the team at the break but Falcon’s scored two more tries to lead 45-7 after 48 minutes.
With the home side enjoying a dominant lead, the Maroon and Gold had a huge challenge on their hands and what could well be a season-defining half an hour was about to start.
The bench entered the fray with Tongan international hooker Aleki Lutui taking a leading role as he carried hard and gave a rallying point for the forward pack. Replacement props Ben Christie and Luvuyo Pupuma made good yards while Rob Langley had his best game for the visitors.
Kevin Barrett had come on at scrum-half with Leon Fukofuka moving to inside centre. Sam Hudson came on at number eight but lasted twelve minutes before he went off injured and was replaced by returning flanker Will Allman. Serafin Bordoli replaced Jarryd Sage at Centre. Henri Williams replaced Jack Arthur.
Newcastle didn’t score again while lock Billy Johnson bagged a hat trick (yes you are reading that correctly) and with wing Spencer Sutherland scoring another try the final score finished 45-29. The Falcons had conceded on average 10 points a game going into the fixture, Amps scored five tries against the number one rated defence in the competition.
Head Coach Paul Turner “commented “It was a huge day for our club to come to Kingston Park and I think the occasion got the better of us early on, while Newcastle were exceptional and put us to the sword in the first half.
It was important that we got the bench on early in the second half and changed the game dynamic getting us back into the game. I thought Aleki led the charge well and the bench got us on the front foot earning us a well-deserved bonus point.
We are have now completed the first half of our Championship fixtures and at the halfway point we are in a deserved sixth place and beginning to understand the competition.
I think this playing and coaching group can give a lot more and we can look at the second half of the season with some confidence whilst understanding there is a lot to work on and improvements to come.”
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery commented “Very proud of the second half fightback and in lots of ways it sums up this playing group when facing a Premiership side and against real adversity they showed great resolve to get the try bonus point.
A year ago Toulon came to Kingston Park and won and whilst we couldn’t quite pull a win off we are very pleased to come away with a point.
We have a big week ahead with the 1881’s playing unbeaten Raging Bull 1 league leaders Richmond Vikings away on Saturday and the first team away at Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday“