Newcastle v Glasgow: Warriors book their place in last eight of Challenge Cup

Head coach Danny Wilson insists that there is still plenty room for improvement after comprehensive win away from home

Johnny Matthews scores Glasgow Warriors' opening try. Image: © Craig Watson -
Johnny Matthews scores Glasgow Warriors' opening try. Image: © Craig Watson -

Newcastle Falcons 17

Glasgow Warriors 27

DAVID BARNES @ Kingston Park

DANNY WILSON admitted that he was nit-picking when he stressed after this match that there was still room for improvement in his team’s performance.

“First of all, it is an away win in Europe, but the important thing is us being better away from home and we did that tonight, but I think there is a fair bit of room for improvement” said the Warriors head coach, after watching his team secure a comprehensive four tries to two victory which booked a Challenge Cup quarter final appointment against Lyon away on the first full weekend in May. “We left a few tries out there and our second half [performance] is something we need to keep working on to really put sides away.

“I’m nit-picking because we’ve come away to an English Premiership team, had a really good win, scored some great tries and played some good rugby.”

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Johnny Matthews carried on the scoring streak which saw him pick up a hat-trick against Zebre last time out by finishing off a sweeping attack which featured Ryan Wilson, Sione Tuipulotu, Sam Johnson, Josh McKay and Ali Price to get the ball rolling with less than four minutes played. The hooker was a prolific try-scorer during his time playing second and third-tier rugby in England, he carried that on when he moved north to play for Boroughmuir in the Premiership and then Super6, and shows no sign of losing his scoring knack now that he if firmly established in the professional game, with this effort being his ninth of this season.

The visitors pushed further ahead just three minutes later when some more slick hands sent Kyle Steyn over on the left. Ross Thompson had converted the first Warriors score but missed from the touchline with this second attempt.

Newcastle rallied briefly but winger Ben Stevenson fumbled the ball with the line at his mercy. Not that Warriors were clinical every time they got in the strike zone, with Scott Cummings failing to hold onto Price’s pass as he burst onto a short ball just a few yards from the Falcons line.

The hosts opened their account on 28 minutes when Brett Connon slotted a 35-yard penalty, but that was the last time the home team looked like scoring in the first half, and Warriors got themselves back on the front foot when a slaloming run from deep by the busy Steyn cut Newcastle wide open, and the visitors would almost certainly have scored if Price had used the five player overlap on the right, but the scrum-half opted to hit it up the middle instead.

It was a temporary delay to try number three because Glasgow kept turning the screw and Newcastle eventually cracked, with McKay finishing off and Thompson converting again for good measure.

Warriors lost Cummings just before the break, with the big second-row – who has had a frustrating, injury-disrupted season so far – hobbling off with what appeared to be a leg injury.


The second half started brightly enough for Warriors, with Steyn and McKay both asking questions of Newcastle’s defence with ball in hand, but there was now way through this time and Newcastle rallied, and it looked like the hosts had scored their first try of the contest when full-back Tommy Penny bounced right back to his feet after not being held in the tackle to scramble over the line – only for the referee and TMO to agree that there had been a double movement.

Eventually, home pressure paid off when Will Montgomery barged over from close range, but that score was soon cancelled out when man-of-the-match Steyn danced over on the right for his second try of the match.

Another probing run from Steyn on the hour mark earned a ruck penalty which Thompson opted to send through the posts to keep the scoreboard ticking over, before Newcastle’s replacement stand-off, Joel Hodgson, scooted over with 15 minutes to go to keep the contest alive – but that was as close as the home team got.


Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, K Steyn; R Thompson, A Price; O Kebble (J Bhatti 40), J Matthews (G Turner 62), S Berghan (Z Fagerson 40), S Cummings (R Harley 38), R Gray, R Darge, T Gordon, R Wilson (A Miller 55)

Newcastle Falcons: T Penny; A Radwan, G Wacokecoke (I Stephens 62), L Burrell, B Stevenson; B Connon (J Hodgson 59), L Schreuder (C Nordli-Kelemeti 78); A Brocklebank (K Cooper 59), G McGuigan (J Blamire 59), T Davison, G Peterson (W Montgomery 38), S Robinson, J Basham, W Welch, F Lockwood.


Scorers –

Newcastle Falcons: Try: Montgomery, Hodgson; Con: Connon, Hodgson; Pen: Connon.

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Matthews, Steyn 2, McKay; Con: Thompson 2; Pen: Thompson

Scoring sequence (Newcastle first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 3-12; 3-17; 3-19 (h-t) 8-19; 10-19; 10-24; 10-27; 15-27; 17-27.


Attendance: 4,121

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About David Barnes 2960 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Yes, a great start that had Newcastle rocking on their heels. But then it all got quite disjointed and there was a real lack of accuracy. Newcastle really didn’t offer very much but, against better opposition, the stripped balls, dropped passes and lack of ball retention could have cost us. Tougher tests to come for sure…

  2. An excellent summary of the game by David Barnes. I wasn’t at the match and watched the highlights on YouTube and his coverage reflected what I saw with many additional insights and comments on how both teams played.

  3. I hope they guys that picked up injuries are ok. We’ll need Cummings and Wilson in South Africa and in Europe. It was a strange kind of performance. Completely different style of play from the last game with varied attack rather than just kicking to the corners for lineout mauls. At times it looked very good. Gray is worldclass at lineout defense. Steyn looked hungry. Price is playing a game that suits him. Matthews looks like first choice hooker at the moment. Interesting that the starting backs finished which might be a first under Wilson. Hopefully Thompson can build a little more confidence to attack the line and collectively the team can sort out its fragility in the final quarter.

  4. Just watched the highlights on YouTube, last night was only radio commentary. Yet again that second half falling a sleep and letting the opposition back into the game. Another try for Mathews, possibly what we do not need another great hooker still he is playing well and I ‘m very impressed with him.
    It’s interesting Wilson went off at 55 and we went to sleep around then, is that what goes wrong, better and bigger teams will hurt us if we do not sort this out.

  5. Good win from Glasgow. Set of at a furious pace and looked like they would blow Newcastle away but missed a few chances to really bury them. I was slightly worried they might have their recent 2nd half collapse as Newcastle raised their game but comfortably managed the game at the end. Wisely they kept the half backs on rather than make changes for no good reason. A tougher task awaits away to Lyon.

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