Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 25-22 Harlequins - Brett Connon's late penalty seals win for Falcons

Brett Connon
Match-winner Brett Connon was a late inclusion in the Newcastle side after Joel Hodgson failed a fitness test
Gallagher Premiership
Newcastle (14) 25
Tries: Chick, Mulipola, Radwan Cons: Connon 2 Pens: Connon 2
Harlequins (7) 22
Tries: Lewies, Green 2 Cons: Smith 2 Pens: Smith

Newcastle beat Harlequins 25-22 in a thriller in their first Premiership game for almost three weeks.

Falcons' Callum Chick and Logovi'i Mulipola both crossed in the first half while Stephan Lewies hit back for the visitors to make it 14-7 at the break.

Adam Radwan extended Falcons' lead before a brace from Tyrone Green left the sides level with five minutes left.

But Brett Connon struck a late penalty to secure victory for Newcastle with one minute remaining.

Falcons returned to action after having their past two games called off because of a coronavirus outbreak, while Harlequins came into the 10th round of fixtures in third place after four successive wins.

Chick made his first start for the Falcons this term after a knee injury in pre-season and the number eight ran an excellent support line to finish the game's opener.

Prop Mulipola dived over after a pick and go in the 28th minute, before Quins instantly hit back with skipper Lewies crossing after snatching a loose ball.

Newcastle continued to boss proceedings in the second period, with Radwan going over following sustained pressure from the hosts.

South African Green scored two stunning individual tries on the break to level the match, before penalties for both sides made it a nervy finish.

But Newcastle wrestled back control in the closing stages, with Connon slotting a 79th-minute penalty to hand Quins their first defeat since former head of rugby Paul Gustard left in January.

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards told BBC Newcastle:

"That's a hard-fought win. They're a good side, they've won four on the bounce. We knew it was going to be difficult.

"I thought our boys coped with them really well. We probably left one or two tries out there and a couple of kicks as well. We're happy with the win but there's always room for improvement.

"We're rusty aren't we. We haven't played for so long. We'll tighten things up and we'll get better."

Harlequins scrum coach Adam Jones:

"We were frustrated in the first half, but that was down to the way that they frustrated us.

"We've got a lot of ambition and want to be a top-four side and challenge for the title, but now I think we will be getting asked questions by other teams.

"We are in a good spot having only had one defeat in 2021 and now we need to push on."

Newcastle: Penny; Radwan, Orlando, Burrell, Stevenson; Connon, Schreuder; Davison, McGuigan, Mulipola, Peterson, Fuser, Robinson (captain), Van der Walt, Chick.

Replacements: Blamire, Brocklebank, Tampin, Barry, Hardie, Stuart, Owen, Carreras.

Harlequins: Morris; Marchant, Northmore, Esterhuizen, Green; Smith, Landajo; Marler, Elia, Louw, Symons, Tizard, Lewies (capt), Kenningham, J Chisholm.

Replacements: Baldwin, Els, Kerrod, Young, Dombrandt, Care, Herron, Lynagh.

Referee: Jack Makepeace (RFU).