Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 19-17 Sale Sharks

Vereniki Goneva
Vereniki Goneva made his debut for Newcastle
Newcastle (10) 19
Try: Sinoti Con: Delany Pens: Delany 4
Sale (3) 17
Tries: Leota, McGuigan Cons: Mugford 2 Pens: MacGinty

Sale fly-half Dan Mugford missed a last-minute penalty as Newcastle held on to earn an opening-night win in the Premiership at Kingston Park.

With Sharks trailing by two points, Mugford sent the final kick of a low-quality game wide from the right.

Newcastle led 10-3 at the break after Sinoti Sinoti crossed in the corner.

Sale's Johnny Leota and Bryon McGuigan scored tries after the break, but Mike Delany's four penalties for Newcastle proved decisive.

Victory for Falcons, who finished 11th in the table last season, was their first in the opening game since 2007.

Neither side could get a grip on the game until Samoan wing Sinoti broke through Sale's defence to cross in the corner just before half-time.

Sale, without instrumental fly-half Danny Cipriani following his move to Wasps, finally came to life after the break, with Leota making a clever run to score.

Delany's accuracy with the boot extended the advantage to 19-10 before McGuigan ran in under the posts to make for a nervy final 10 minutes.

Replacement Mugford was given the chance to complete the comeback but could not find the target.

Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, Socino, Sinoti; Delany, Takulua; Welsh, Lawson, Vea, Green, Witty, Olmstead, Welch (capt), Wilson.

Replacements: Sowrey, Rogers, Lockwood, Fonua, Chick, Egerton, Hodgson, Waldouck.

Sale: McGuigan; Addison, James, Leota, Edwards; MacGinty, Phillips; Lewis-Roberts, Webber, Aulika, Evans, Ostrikov, Beaumont (capt), Ioane, Pearce.

Replacements: Briggs, Flynn, Longbottom, Mills, Lund, Seymour, Mitchell, Mugford.

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