Aviva Premiership

Gloucester 20 Newcastle Falcons 21

GLOUCESTER lost their Aviva Premiership unbeaten home record as Newcastle Falcons beat them by a single point.

The Cherry and Whites got a try bonus point and another for losing by less than seven points.

But missed conversions by fly-half Billy Burns, who failed three times, were crucial.

Newcastle threatened to take Gloucester’s unbeaten record at Kingsholm during the first-half. They went in front with a penalty from fly half Joel Hodgson but the Cherry and Whites managed to recapture the lead with a piece of magic.

Gloucester attacked in the Falcons’ 22 for scrum-half Willi Heinz to feed full-back Jason Woodward.

Woodward, ten metres from the visitor’s line, put in a delicate grubber kick to the try-line and rounded a bewildered defence to pass by wing Sinoti Sinoti and steal the ball and touch down.

It was a lovely try but the Cherry and Whites were to pay for a lack of concentration five minutes after Woodward had touched down.

Falcon’s scrum-half Micky Young rose high to claim a kick on half-way and beat home wing Charlie Sharples.

He ran upfield and beat two men. His work enabled him to feed flanker Hogg, following up, to run-in for a try which Hodgson converted.

And Gloucester did themselves no favours when wing David Halaifonua was sin-binned for what appeared to be a high shot on Falcons opposite number Sinoti. Halaifonua went in with his right shoulder on the Newcastle man.

After a review from the TMO, Trevor Fisher, referee Craig Maxwell-Keys sent the Cherry and Whites flyer to the sin-bin, while Sinoti eventually failed a head injury assessment and his afternoon was done.

Things got worse for Gloucester as Hodgson struck over his second penalty to put Newcastle 13-5 in front and on course for a crucial victory in the race for a Premiership play-off place.

And, when Gloucester were accused of being offside at a ruck in front of the posts, Hodgson made it three penalties by booting the 30 metre shot between the posts in the last action of the first-half, giving the north east side a 16-5 advantage.

Gloucester thought they had pulled themselves back into the game when Sharples secured a high ball, with it coming off his knee, for the back division to move it wide on the left.

Woodward ran into the 22 and gave a great pass while being tackled to Halaifonua on the touchline to dive in at the corner.

Burns failed with the tough conversion but Newcastle regained the lead when Gloucester conceded a turnover near halfway, spinned the ball across the backs for Young to dart past Sharples on the wing to score an unconverted try.

Gloucester could have taken two easy penalties but, being 11 points down, they opted to attack for a try. The first failed but the second ended when centre Mark Atkinson went outside replacement Maxime Mermoz for an unconverted try but only after incredible defence on their line by the Falcons.

The Cherry and Whites were just six points down and put Newcastle under huge pressure inside the last ten minutes and grabbed their bonus point when replacement back row Lewis Ludlow was driven over under a pile of bodies.

Burns had missed all three conversions so replacement Billy Twelvetrees tried for the conversion that would give Gloucester a slender lead but the kick went wide of the posts.

But a forward pass by Twelvetrees on half-way in the last minute handed the victory to the Falcons and left the Cherry and Whites four points short of the fourth Premiership play-off place.