JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series
Flawless Falcons book place in Sevens final
July 29, 2011
Sale Sharks' Danny Bibby bagged a hat-trick in Sale's rout of Leicester Tigers
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Newcastle Falcons progressed to the final of the JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series by winning all three of their games in the third round of the pool stages at Edgeley Park on Friday night.
Last year's runners-up edged out hosts Sale Sharks in their opening game before seeing off Worcester Warriors and Leicester Tigers to seal their place in next Friday's tournament decider at the Stoop.
Sale also made it through after overcoming Worcester in their winner-takes-all clash at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable evening of Sevens rugby played out before the ESPN cameras.
Newcastle Falcons 7s 15-7 Sale Sharks 7s
Tournament hosts Sale Sharks started brightly, with Will Addison bagging the opening try of the evening in fine style when he beat two men to score in the right corner. However, Newcastle showed just why so many people had tipped them up by recovering from seven points down at the break to win by eight. Luke Fielden was the man who deserved most of the credit for the comeback, putting Joel Hodgson in to score a minute into the second half with a sublime offload before sealing victory with a fine breakaway try in the dying seconds after the Falcons had edged in front with a try from Ryan Shortland.
Worcester Warriors 7s 19-12 Leicester Tigers 7s
Worcester announced their return to the top table of English rugby with a fine win over a young Leicester Tigers side. The Tigers had enjoyed a dream start, with the impressive Ed Rolston touching down just two minutes in. However, they then gifted Worcester a route back into the game, a poor kick from Lee Robinson resulting in a terrific counter-attack from the Warriors which ended with Andy Short cruising over after collecting a sublime pass off the floor from Joel Dudley. Rolston put Leicester back in front two minutes ino the second half when he spun out of a couple of weak Worcester challenges to score under the posts but the Warriors' superior fitness was very much in evidence as they finished the stronger. James Freeman dotted after levelling Tom Bowen with a powerful hand-off before the lively Danny Gray touched down under the posts after catching the Tigers defence napping.
Sale Sharks 7s 47-0 Leicester Tigers 7s
Sale bounced back from their defeat by Worcester by picking up the first bonus point of the evening in routing a hapless Leicester side. Danny Bibby lit up the first half, showing off a tremendous step and blistering pace in registering tries either side of Jordan Davies' intercept score. Will Cliff also touched down as Sale reached the break 28-0 ahead and with the bonus point already in the bag. Will Addison then broke clear to score the hosts' fifth try, Tom Brady added a sixth, before Bibby completed his hat-trick in the dying seconds as Sale equalled the biggest ever margin of victory in the tournament's history.
Newcastle Falcons 7s 19-10 Worcester Warriors 7s
The two sides who had won their opening games on the night proved evenly matched early on but Newcastle took control of the contest with two tries just before the break. Joel Hodgson played an integral role in both, scoring the first after linking well with Luke Eves before leaving Luke Fielden with a simple finish in the right corner with a looping pass out to the flank. They pulled further clear two minutes into the second half when Aaron Myers put mark Wilson away to score. Any hope Worcester had of turning the game around disappeared when Sean McCarthy was yellow carded for a nasty spear tackle on Hodgson but they came desperately close to salvaging a bonus point because Sam Miller crossed twice in the closing two minutes. However, he failed to land a difficult conversion attempt from out wide with the last kick of the game so the Warriors ended up with nothing to show for their efforts.
Newcastle Falcons 7s 41-7 Leicester Tigers 7s
For a short time it appeared as if Leicester might pull of a major upset in their final outing of the evening but in the end they were completely overwhelmed by the rampant Falcons. Leicester took the lead four minutes in when Tahir El Mahdi finished well, stepping inside Alex Tait on his way to the whitewash after a patient build-up from the Tigers. However, Newcastle responded with three rapid-fire tries, with Chris Pilgrim striking twice and Richard Mayhew crossing once. Pilgrim then set Tait up for a try early in the second half before Aaron Myers took advantage of Leicester's inability to deal with the restart to score in the corner. Will Chudley then cruised over as Leicester's defensive resistance completely disintegrated before Mark Wilson was on hand to complete the scoring after Eves had been held up just short.
Sale Sharks 7s 47-12 Worcester Warriors 7s
Sale secured their place in the final by racking up 47 points for the second successive game. Worcester struggled to contain the Sharks right from the first whistle and Tom Brady raced away to score with just over 60 seconds gone after a great line from Will Addison had opened up the Warriors defence. Just moments later they were over again, Bibby thrilling the crowd with an awesome display of pace down the left flank as he left Joel Dudley for dead on his way to the try-line. Bibby struck again two minutes later, this time courtesy of his umpteenth terrific step of the night, before Brown blazed through to score on six minutes. Nile Dacres and Sam Miller gave Worcester a glimmer of hope with tries either side of the interval but Sale quickly reasserted their supremacy through Ed Tellwright, who dived over after a terrific run from halfway. Tommy Bell then jinked his way over the sticks with just over a minute to go before Bibby, the undoubted star of the night's entertainment, rather fittingly had the final say with another try right at the death.
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