Newcastle Falcons secured their return to Aviva Premiership Rugby last night. In a hard fought match at Kingston Park, Newcastle Falcons came out on top after the two Final Play-off legs, 49 – 33 on aggregate (31 – 24 on the night).
Bedford put up a determined fight to close down the 18 – 9 advantage Newcastle took from the first leg. Bedford Blues outside-half, Jake Sharp, scored all of his team’s points in an end to end game. But as Ryan Shortland and Alex Tait both crossed the try line for Newcastle and Jimmy Gopperth kicked seven penalties, the Falcons sealed their return to top flight rugby.
Newcastle return to the Aviva Premiership after losing just one regular league game in the Championship this season against Bristol. They finished the league 24 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Nottingham.
Gopperth who will be joining Leinster next season was Newcastle’s top point scorer in the 2012 / 2013 season with 230 points in the regular league. So after adding to this tally in the play offs it was appropriate that Gopperth’s leaving gift was being named Man of the Match last night.
“Bedford Blues put in a determined performance with their backline looking particularly dangerous but after dominating the Championship this season with only one loss in a regular league game, Newcastle Falcons look like they have built some great foundations for their return to English rugby’s top flight.