Leicester cruise past Newcastle despite Nic Dolly’s serious knee injury

  • Newcastle 5-27 Leicester
  • Dolly carried off after ‘crocodile roll’ by Brocklebank

Dean Richards’s final home game as Newcastle’s director of rugby was overshadowed by a horrific knee injury to the Leicester and England hooker Nic Dolly, who was carried off on a stretcher during the first half.

Richards, who achieved legendary status as a Tigers player and coach during his 23-year association with the club, is approaching the end of his 10th season at Kingston Park but could stay on in a consultancy role.

His old side moved closer towards sealing top spot in the Premiership with this victory, but the loss of Dolly will be huge cause for concern. He now seems certain for a lengthy period on the sidelines, ruling him out of England’s summer tour of Australia.

The Sydney-born 22-year-old, who was this week named in a 36-man England squad for a three-day training camp which begins on Sunday, was left badly hurt after a crocodile roll by Adam Brocklebank at the breakdown.

The Falcons prop was sent to the sin-bin for the challenge and Dolly, who has enjoyed an outstanding campaign for Steve Borthwick’s side, was replaced by Charlie Clare.

“It looks like Nic’s been hurt reasonably seriously,” said Borthwick of the injury to Dolly’s left knee. “We will have to get it scanned ASAP and he will see the best guys to make sure he’s back on the field as soon as possible.

“He’s in pain right now but, as a player, when you understand what the injury is and what the plan for it is, you can start putting targets on your rehab. What we need to do is get the clarity as soon as possible. While he’s unlucky to have sustained this injury,I know he will work exceptionally hard to come back an even better player.”

This was a decidedly low-key farewell for Richards, who allowed Dave Walder, his successor in the top job, to oversee the team for this game and also fulfil the post-match media duties.

Walder said: “Deano’s been an enormous presence, literally and metaphorically, and kept the club going at times. It would have been nice for him to have finished at home with a win.

I’m proud of the performance but disappointed with the result.”

A crowd of 8,015, the Falcons’ biggest at home since April 2019, saw Nemani Nadolo use brute force to barrel through the Newcastle defence and over the line. Leicester had their hosts right where they wanted them and George Ford booted a penalty in the 21st minute.

In the 28th minute, Brocklebank was sent to the sin-bin for his challenge on Dolly after intervention from the TMO, Hamish Smales. The full weight of Brocklebank fell on Dolly, who was taken off on a stretcher.

Seven minutes before the interval, Adam Radwan embarked on a searing break inside the right channel, showing delightful footwork and speed to dart past a couple of leaden-footed Leicester defenders before his pass to Joel Hodgson was knocked on by the Falcons fly-half. That gave Richards’s team the belief that, if they backed themselves, they might just be good enough to breach Leicester’s defence.

Sure enough, Newcastle quickly built several phases inside the Tigers’ 22-metre line, only to be denied by some obstinate defending and held up twice over the line.

The Falcons upped the tempo after the restart and Michael Young’s impish break found Josh Basham, who seemed certain to score only to be denied by Ford’s terrific saving tackle.

In the 50th minute Newcastle finally scored when George McGuigan, who will join the England squad on Sunday with team-mate Jamie Blamire, went over in the left corner.

The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email.

But a penalty from Ford gave Leicester breathing space and the fly-half then sent the centre Guy Porter over to score.

Late on, Freddie Steward touched down a clever kick from Ford in the right corner, securing a win which took them a step closer towards clinching top spot before the play-offs.


Ross Heppenstall at Kingston Park

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Ellis Genge’s belligerent display earns Leicester a bonus over Newcastle
Ellis Genge scored two tries against Newcastle to help tighten Tigers’ grip on fourth place with a 30-3 win

Gerard Meagher at Welford Road

15, Apr, 2017 @5:00 PM

Article image
Leicester fight back to leave Newcastle bottom of the Premiership
A Steve Mafi try three minutes from time rescued Leicester at Kingston Park after Newcastle had scored three tries

Observer staff

17, Sep, 2011 @9:17 PM

Article image
Rugby roundup: Bath have last word at Leicester on day of thrillers
On the last day of the season, Bath clinched sixth place with a 32-31 comeback win at Welford Road, while Sale were seventh after edging past Gloucester in a 13-try feast

Gerard Meagher

18, May, 2019 @7:26 PM

Article image
Leicester’s George Ford starts try-fest in wild win against Newcastle
Both sides scored five tries in the first game after Matt O’Connor’s sacking as Leicester won 49-33 against Leicester at Welford Road, with George Ford getting 29 points

Michael Aylwin at Welford Road

08, Sep, 2018 @4:53 PM

Article image
Rugby union: Leicester 20-3 Newcastle

After injury and illness hit Newcastle's squad, a bad week ended with a 20-3 loss to a largely second-string Leicester

Andy Bull

21, Dec, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Leicester 31-6 Newcastle | Premiership match report
Dean Richards's return to Leicester, the team he called home for almost half his life, turned out something of a damp squib, his Newcastle side going down to a five-try beating in the Premiership

Mike Averis at Welford Road

21, Sep, 2013 @4:38 PM

Article image
Leicester's Jeremy Staunton benefits as Newcastle cannot capitalise
Leicester extend their tryless record in front a record attendance against Newcastle

Michael Aylwin

19, Sep, 2009 @7:07 PM

Article image
Dazzling Danny Cipriani steers Wasps past Newcastle into third place
Danny Cipriani was in sparkling form as Wasps won 39-22 at Newcastle to secure a trip to Saracens in the Premiership semi-finals, while Newcastle will now visit table-topping Exeter

Ross Heppenstall at Kingston Park

05, May, 2018 @5:45 PM

Article image
Saracens have the look of champions and Bristol can make their mark
Club-by-club Premiership guide: Gerard Meagher assesses the chances of the 12 sides

Gerard Meagher

30, Aug, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
Josh Bayliss with final flourish as Bath beat Northampton to seal Europe spot
Bath, Wasps and Leicester picked up the points needed for European qualification on the final day of the Premiership

Michael Aylwin

12, Jun, 2021 @5:39 PM