Newcastle 22 Sale 19: Cool Gopperth holds nerve to land Falcons a relegation lifeline
23:08 GMT, 30 March 2012
Jimmy Gopperth gave Newcastle hope of Aviva Premiership survival by landing a dramatic late penalty to pip Sale at Kingston Park.
Newcastle’s sixth win of the season cuts the deficit behind Wasps, who host Gloucester, to four points.
Gopperth endured a mixed night, having handed Sale one try in the first half before finishing up the match winner.
Jumping for joy: Jonny Golding celebrates the win at the final whistle
He kicked 17 points including a difficult conversion of Tim Swinson’s second-half try.
That levelled the scores at 19-19 and
the New Zealander missed another kick in the 69th minute before
accepting his final chance three minutes from time, to the delight of
Victory was welcomed by Newcastle’s acting director of rugby, Gary Gold.
High jump: James Hudson wins a lineout ball
‘I’m thrilled for the fans because they deserve to watch a winning team. They support us through thick and thin,’ he said.
Gold said he had to put a ‘comforting
arm’ around Gopperth at half-time after the fly-half botched a high
kick which led to a Sale try for Rob Miller. He had also only kicked
four penalties from six.
Boot-iful: Newcastle fly-half Jimmy Gopperth kicks the winning penalty
‘I just told him what a good player he is and to crack on,’ said Gold. ‘He takes his misses very personally.’
Sale looked to have far too much pace
for Newcastle in a first half when they scored three tries through
Miller, wing Tom Brady and lock James Gaskell.