Leicester Tigers Development XV were beaten 54-13 by Newcastle Falcons in the third round of the Premiership Shield at Kingston Park on Monday evening.
A single point separated the teams at half-time, with Tigers 13-14 down after a Rob Povey try and eight points from the boot of Dan Lewis, but the Falcons pulled clear in the second half, during which wing Adam Radwan completed a hat-trick.
Valentino Mapapalangi, in his first appearance since the pre-season game against London Irish, was named at No8 in a team which included the experience of Campese Ma’afu and skipper Matt Smith but also plenty of youth with seven members of the development squad alongside a number of guest players from Coventry as well as Loughborough Students hooker Stefan Younghusband.
Tigers were first on the scoreboard with a penalty from fly-half Dan Lewis after the forwards had their progress halted from a lineout drive on the left.
But Newcastle did not have to wait long for their breakthrough, with USA international prop Paul Mullen charging through to score under the posts after good work in attack from flanker Simon Uzokwe. The conversion from Brett Connon made it 7-3 to the hosts.
The middle period of the half was played out in the centre of the field with neither side creating a real scoring chance, before Povey claimed a try for Tigers.
Mapapalangi and Matt Smith made valuable gains in possession before Povey showed smart footwork to make the final crucial metres to the line. Lewis added the conversion with a perfect kick from the touchline and Tigers were in front again at 7-10.
But Falcons again came back with a score of their own, this time with wing Radwan showing impressive footwork close to the touchline to step the Tigers defence and then run in on the right.
Connon’s conversion made it 14-10, but Tigers narrowed the gap with a penalty from Lewis shortly before half-time, making sure with the kick 15 metres in from the left touchline after Povey had capitalised on an error in the Newcastle backline and then made good use of the forwards to push up towards the five-metre line before the referee blew for the infringement.
But that was to be the last of the scoring for Tigers as the Falcons stretched their lead with Radwan completing a hat-trick of tries to go with doubles for Glen Young and replacement Guy Graham in the second 40 minutes which featured yellow cards for props Facundo Gigena and Campese Ma’afu.
Tigers did enjoy a couple of spells of ball near the Falcons line without forcing a way over while the hosts kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Round 4 features a trip to Sale Jets for Tigers next Monday evening.