Brive dispatch Falcons; take control

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 10:39
Stade surge towards last eight

Brive are now heavy favourites to qualify for the Challenge Cup quarterfinals from Pool Three after they edged out Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.

The French outfit headed across the Channel level on points with the Falcons and defeat of any sort would have seen Dean Richards and co seize control of the pool ahead of the final round of action.

But Brive produced a fine rear-guard action to limit their hosts to a single score, with a hat-trick of penalties from Thomas Laranjeira handing them a vital 9-7 victory.

It was Newcastle who dominated much of the first period but they didn't trouble the scoreboard until the very final play of the half when referee Ian Davies awarded a penalty try to give them a 7-3 lead at the break.

They should have been in front much earlier than that but flyhalf Joel Hodgson missed a brace of kickable penalties after his forwards had done the hard work. The 21 year-old sent his first effort narrowly wide of the near post after nine minutes before hitting the upright with his second attempt 16 minutes later.

The Falcons enjoyed a much bigger share of territory of possession but a series of knock-ons and a lack of creativity that has seen them score just six tries in the Aviva Premiership meant Brive survived unscathed.

The visitors, who won the second Heineken Cup final in 1997 and finished as runners up a year later, took the lead three minutes past the half hour as inside centre Laranjeira's penalty crept inside the left post.

Things then swung dramatically in Newcastle's favour when Brive went down to 13 men in the space of two minutes at the end of the first period. Yellow cards to lock Apisai Naikatini for pulling down Scott MacLeod at a line-out and No.8 Kieran Murphy for playing scrumhalf Warren Fury at a close-rage ruck handed the Falcons a huge advantage and they finally got off the mark as Davies lost patience at scrum time with the clock already in the red.

Newcastle failed to build on Brive's lack of numbers after the break, though, and an early penalty from Laranjeira was the only change to the scoreline before they returned to 15 men.

The second period continued to make as uncomfortable viewing as the first for the Falcons in terms of the scoreboard and they were made to pay for a series of missed opportunities, with their failure to finish off Fury's break after 66 minutes a standout moment, when Laranjeira struck the winning kick with five minutes remaining.

Newcastle had initially escaped when Murphy was held up over the line late on but Laranjeira then made up for two second half misses when Brive turned the screw at scrum time.

Brive now know that if they can avoid defeat at home to Cammi Rugby Calvisano a week today then a place in the last eight will be theirs.

* In the other game on Thursday Stade Francais Paris took a giant step towards the quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup with a 31-3 win over I Cavalieri Prato.

Last season's beaten finalists began the match knowing that back-to-back bonus point successes against Cavalieri and lowly Lusitanos would guarantee a place in the last eight and they have now completed half that job after a fourth win from five pool games win in the French capital.

Stade, who lost to Leinster in Dublin in last season's showpiece, took control of the pool with a last-gasp bonus point try against London Irish last time out and they again left it late to achieve the outcome they were after at the Stade Jean Bouin.

Quarterfinal qualification looked to be swinging back in Irish's favour after a slow second half but Anton van Zyl crossed with just two minutes remaining to secure maximum points.

Stade led 17-0 with two tries in the bag at the break through Djibril Camara and Romain Frou in a five-minute spell leading up to the half hour but they failed to kick on after the interval.

Instead, it was the Italians who scored next through a penalty from Matte Falsaperla after 53 minutes before Stade struck twice in the last 10 minutes.

Former Super Rugby star Richard Kingi grabbed Stade's third try after 71 minutes and van Zyl completed the job when Prato were down to 14 following men Giacomo Berni's yellow card as time appeared to be running out.

Jerome Porical added 11 points with the boot but the four tries were all that really mattered as a repeat in Portugal a week today will now secure top spot regardless of how London Irish fare in Rounds 5 and 6.

Thursday's scores and scorers:

Newcastle Falcons 7-9 Brive

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Penalty try
Con: Hodgson

For Brive:
Laranjeira 3


Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Chris York, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Sean Tomes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 James Hallam, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Andy Saull, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Noah Cato.

Brive: 15 Anderson Neisen, 14 Alfi Mafi, 13 Baptiste Delage, 12 Thomas Laranjeira, 11 Sevanaia Galala, 10 Romain Sola, 9 Damien Neveu, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Fabien Laurent, 6 Said Hireche (captain), 5 Apisai Naikatini, 4 Simon Pinet, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Louis Acosta, 1 Damien Lavergne.
Replacements: 16 Francois Da Ros, 17 Goderzi Shvelidze, 18 Yusuf Tuncer, 19 Victor Lebas, 20 Hugues Briatte, 21 Thomas Sanchou, 22 Guillaume Namy, 23 Elia Radikedike.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales) Chris Williams (Wales)
TMO: Paul Adams (Wales)

Stade Francais Paris 31-3 I Cavalieri Prato

The scorers:

For Stade Français:
Camara, Frou, Kingi, Van Zyl
Cons: Porical 4
Pen: Porical

For Cavalieri Prato:


Stade Français: 15 Jerome Porical, 14 Adrea Cocagi, 13 Julien Arias (captain), 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Djibril Camara, 10 Peter Lydon, 9 Clement Daguin, 8 David Lyons 7 Nicolas Garrault, 6 Scott Lavalla, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 David Attoub, 2 Michael Van Vuuren, 1 Romain Frou.
Replacements: 16 Zurabi Zhvania, 17 Zak Taulafo, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Gerhard Mostert, 20 Pascal Papé, 21 Richard Kingi, 22 Vincent Mallet 23 Geoffrey Doumayrou.

Cavalieri Prato: 15 Matte Falsaperla, 14 Niccolò Tempestini, 13 Gabriele Manganiello, 12 Clemens Von Grumbkov, 11 Abou Souare, 10 Toby Browne, 9 Pino Patelli (captain), 8 Giacomo Bernini 7 Diego Delnevo, 6 Gabriele Cicchinelli, 5 Nifo Nifo, 4 Filippo Gerona, 3 Coma Aragonite, 2 Andrea Lupetti, 1 Otis Lombardi.
Replacements: 16 Lorenzo Grievance, 17 Victor Coria Marchat, 18 Rudi Manicotti, 19 Alberto Saccardo, 20 Alessandro Lunardi, 21 Filippo Mezzos, 22 Marco Ferrying, 23 Ale Decoder.

Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Martyn Lewis (Wales), Jon Hardy (Wales)
TMO: Huw Lewis (Wales)