Rugby: Russell facing big challenge after shock defeat

Former Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby coach Peter Russell faces the biggest challenge of his eight-month Northern Hemisphere career after his Newcastle Falcons side suffered a surprise loss to Leeds Carnegie in the away leg of the team's English championship semifinal on Monday.

Leeds - beaten twice by Newcastle 53-10 and 13-9 during the Tyneside club's domination of the 22-match home and away preliminary rounds of the English Championship - won 24-19 at Headingley.

The Falcons will have to overturn the five points semifinal deficit in next weekend's home leg if they are to reach the final, with the aim of winning the championship and being promoted back to the Aviva Premiership.

Newcastle had led 19-13 late in the match, but succumbed to two penalties and an injury-time try decided by the TMO, for just their second loss in 32 games since Russell took over as head coach at the start of the season.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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