Fixture: London Irish v Newcastle Falcons
Competition: Gallagher Premiership, Round 10
Date: Saturday 4th December 2021
Stadium: Brentford Community Stadium
Newcastle Falcons make the long trip South to take on London Irish in Round 10 of the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday afternoon.
Whilst Irish endured a tricky afternoon at Kingston Park back in May, Falcons’ first visit to West London in late January ended in an Irish victory, with Declan Kidney’s emerging victorious in a bonus-point 31-22 victory.
More recently, the Exiles capped off a remarkable November by keeping their unbeaten status throughout the month intact with a 22-19 win over local rivals, Harlequins, last weekend. Agustin Creevy, Rob Simmons and Ben White touched down in a memorable win at The Stoop.
Falcons, meanwhile, shared the spoils with Worcester Warriors in Round 9 – the returning Adam Radwan making an impact for Dean Richards with a try in a 24-24 draw.
The one-time Premiership champions from the North East are aspiring to better their 10th placed finish from last season, bolstered with experienced signings such as Mike Brown and former front-row regular at the Madejski, Richard Palframan.
The boss – Dean Richards
A mainstay of English rugby, Dean Richards’ tenth year with the Newcastle Falcons is underway in the pursuit of Champions Cup qualification, something only previously achieved once in the Club’s previous 17 attempts.
The 58 year-old has endured some difficult times during his tenure on Tyneside, but has nonetheless steered the Falcons to two promotions back to the top-flight.
Richards also navigated the Kingston Park side to their highest league finish in 11 years with a top-four spot during the 2016/17 campaign.
One to Watch – Adam Radwan
Newcastle possess one of the league’s most rapid players in Adam Radwan, who clocked a staggering 10.85 metres per second in a recent England training camp.
The speedster has made an immediate impression on the international front with four tries in his first two England appearances, and recently spoke of the ‘valuable’ influence veteran signing Mike Brown has had on his aerial ability and training standards.
His try against Worcester in Round 9 was his third of the season in six appearances, as he aims to beat his personal best of 14 across the 2019/20 Championship and Championship Cup.
Radwan was crowned the Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player Award and Falcons' Academy Player of the Season in the 2017/18 season, having scored 10 tries in the European competition.
Classic Encounter – Newcastle Falcons 12, London Irish 46 – September 25th 2010 – Aviva Premiership
London Irish collected all five points at Kingston Park back in 2010 as Toby Booth’s men crossed the line six times to romp home.
A hat-trick from Topsy Ojo, a brace from Jonathan Joseph and a Daniel Bowden try blew away the hosts and sent Irish to the helm of the Aviva Premiership.
Irish’s record appearance maker showcased his supreme finishing capabilities in his first two tries following good work from Delon Armitage and Seilala Mapusua, with Jimmy Gopperth converting his own effort to halve the lead.
Armitage and Mapusua were on hand as providers once again for Joseph’s and Bowden’s novel scores – but Ojo’s direct breakaway stole the headlines to touch down and secure the match ball, before Joseph’s intercepted try and Alex Tait’s consolation late on.
Tries: Jimmy Gopperth, Alex Tait
Conversion: Jimmy Gopperth
Tries: Topsy Ojo (3), Jonathan Joseph (2), Daniel Bowden
Conversions: Ryan Lamb (5)
Penalties: Ryan Lamb (2)
Director of Rugby Dean Richards spoke of a sense of disappointment in his side’s inability to maximise the opportunities presented to them and win against Worcester Warriors.
“Three points in some respects is not a bad result, but we expected more and wanted more,” Richards stated.
“It was always going to be a game of two halves with the way the wind was, and when we had the wind in that opening half we had to capitalise on it.
“We didn’t manage to do that, and we went in just two points up at half-time rather than the 15 or 20 that we needed- that was our own doing, and we’re disappointed by it.”
(Preview compiled by Ryan Fitzgerald Nolan)