Tait double puts Falcons into top five
PREMIERSHIP MATCH REPORT: Alex Tait's brace guided Newcastle Falcons to a third straight Premiership victory as they humbled London Irish.
Dean Richards' side ran out 20-15 winners at the Madjeski Stadium, scoring all of their points in the first period as the Exiles' wait to follow up on their win over Harlequins in Round One rumbles on.
Greig Tonks' long-range penalty handed the hosts an early lead with just four minutes gone and after Toby Flood had bisected the posts at the other end of the Madjeski Stadium, the full-back repeated the trick to put his side 6-3 to the good with 11 minutes gone.
However, Tait then came to the fore, charging down a kick before bundling over the line with 23 minutes on the clock before, shortly afterwards, some superb invention from Juan Pablo Socino teed up the winger for a quickfire second.
Sonatane Takulua got the Falcons motoring and Argentinian centre Socino produced a sublime crossfield kick that dropped right into the arms of Tait, who barley had to break stride as he swept over the try line, Flood converting.
Another Tonks penalty reduced the deficit to six points while Flood saw a kick from the tee crash against the upright.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Newcastle took full advantage of the hosts having Mike Coman sin-binned, Takulua sweeping the ball left following a driving maul and setting up Vereniki Goneva to stroll over from 10 yards.
Irish dusted themselves down at the break and laid siege to the Falcons early in the second period but the home side couldn't make it to the try line, instead settling for Tonks' fourth' penalty of the game, who made it 20-12.
On the hour mark, Joe Cokanasiga almost got on the end of Tonks' lofted kick down the right flanks but Newcastle narrowly managed to clear the danger.
Seven minutes later, the visitors thought they had gone over for their third try of the contest as Kyle Cooper claiming to have grounded the ball from a maul but, after consulting the TMO, referee Tom Foley was unable to award the score.
After missing one late penalty, Tonks slotted his fifth penalty of the game with just over two minutes to go but there was to be no sting in the tail as the Falcons took the spoils.
For London Irish:
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries:Tait 2, Goneva
Yellow card: Mike Coman (London Irish, 38 )
London Irish: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 James Marshall, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 6 Mike Coman (captain), 5 Teofilo Paulo, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Mark Wilson (captain), 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Evan Olmstead, 20 Will Welch, 21 Michael Young, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Josh Matavesi.
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Dean Richards & Wayne Falla
TMO: David Sainsbury