European Challenge Cup: Gloucester 33-12 Newcastle Falcons

Tom Marshall scores Gloucester's first try
Jason Woodward made a line break to set up Tom Marshall for a Gloucester try
European Challenge Cup
Gloucester (15) 33
Tries: Marshall, Matu'u, Burns, Vellacott Cons: Twelvetrees 2 Pens: Twelvetrees 3
Newcastle (5) 12
Tries: Lawson 2 Con: Hodgson

Gloucester reached their third European Challenge Cup final in four seasons with a four-try win over Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm.

Scott Lawson put Falcons ahead against but Tom Marshall and Motu Matu'u scored as the hosts led 15-5 at the break.

The Cherry and Whites looked to have done enough when Billy Burns cut through a gap to go over for a third.

Lawson's second try made it 20-12 but two Billy Twelvetrees penalties and Ben Vellacott's score sealed the result.

David Humphreys' Gloucester, winners of the competition in 2015, will meet Cardiff Blues or Pau in the final in Bilbao on 11 May.

They were without skipper Willi Heinz through injury, with Ed Slater captaining the side, but played some free-flowing rugby resulting in eye-catching tries from Marshall and Vellacott - both set up by the impressive Jason Woodward.

Newcastle, three points and two places above sixth-placed Gloucester in the Premiership table with two games remaining, were bidding for their first major European final.

Each of their tries came as a result of a strong driving maul, but they were always kept at arm's length.

Gloucester will now look to avenge their final defeat by Stade Francais at Murrayfield last year.

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"First of all we gave them a start that probably could've given them a lot of confidence, with the mistakes we made we couldn't get out of our half.

"But we started to hold onto the ball, got a bit of momentum with the forwards and our scrum started to dominate. We get our passing accurate so we can release our outside backs, and that was quite dangerous.

"Hopefully our supporters have a nice trip lined up because they were extremely vocal and I must say that had a massive influence."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards told BBC Radio Newcastle:

"If you're playing against a side like Gloucester you've got to take your chances, and we didn't take our chances.

"We've lost two semi-finals - one in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and obviously this one - and all it means is we'll look to the next game, and Leicester is the next game.

"We're going in the right direction - the objective every year is to improve on where we were the year before and we seem to be doing that at the moment."

Gloucester: Woodward; Marshall, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Trinder; Burns, Braley; McAllister, Matu'u, Balmain; Slater (capt), Galarza; Ackermann, Polledri, Morgan.

Replacements: Hanson, Hohneck, Afoa, Clarke, Ludlow, Vellacott, Symons, Sharples.

Newcastle: Hammersley; Harris, Mermoz, Matavesi, Kibirige; Hodgson, Young (capt); Lockwood, Lawson, Wilson, Green, Robinson, Olmstead, Graham, Burrows.

Replacements: Socino, Vickers, Davison, Witty, Wilson, Stuart, Radwan, Penny.