Newcastle blitz Leicester with a first-half Carreras hat-trick
Mateo Carreras scored a first-half hat-trick as Newcastle Falcons blitzed Leicester Tigers 45-26 in their first Gallagher Premiership clash of 2023. The Argentine’s contribution – along with a Callum Chick try – came in a blistering opening 40 minutes for the north-east side, with Ben Youngs’ score the only bright point for the blunt visitors.
Ollie Chessum went over after the break for the Tigers to reduce the deficit, but a Brett Connon penalty and tries from Jamie Blamire and Matias Moroni ensured a thoroughly deserved victory for the home side despite late Jimmy Gopperth and Sean Jansen efforts, which earned a bonus point for Leicester.
It was the hosts who found the breakthrough on 14 minutes when Carreras finished a wonderful move from right to left and Connon added the extras to give his side a seven-point lead. Things got worse for the champions when Freddie Steward was sent to the sin-bin for blocking Carreras a minute later, but they held firm against the storm from the Falcons.
The Argentine was proving a huge thorn in the Tigers’ side and he almost grabbed a second try on the left wing when he chipped the ball forward to run onto but was deceived by the bounce. It did not take long for the score to come, however, as Chick drove under the posts on 27 minutes to leave Connon with the simplest of conversions.
The visitors did manage to claw one back before the interval when Youngs crossed in the corner after a pick-and-go, but Charlie Atkinson failed to convert a tricky opportunity from the touchline. Carreras then claimed his second try on 36 minutes after receiving the ball from Connon 20 metres out and the 26-year-old duly added the extras.
Next, the wing wizard then claimed a first-half hat-trick after a lung-busting breakaway 80 metres from the posts, earning his side a bonus point. The Tigers thought they had grabbed another try after a series of penalties – and the sin-binning of Greg Peterson – in added time when Charlie Clare went over at the fifth time of asking, but TMO ruled it out.
They rectified that within two minutes of the restart when Chessum found a way through on the right side, and Atkinson converted to reduce the arrears. Connon slotted a 30-metre penalty home for the hosts on 46 minutes to give them a 19-point lead, before Blamire added another try ten minutes later.
Tommy Reffell was sin-binned for Leicester in the 68th minute for head contact, but they did go over again through Gopperth after a quick tap. Moroni then raced through the Tigers’ defence before Jansen ensured that the visitors would head home with something to show for their efforts despite suffering consecutive defeats on the road.
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