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PREVIEW: Falcons confident of qualification

Thursday 22nd January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Newcastle Falcons captain Andy Saull wants his team to pick up where they left off in the European Rugby Challenge Cup as they chase a quarter-final spot in Romania.

The Falcons must beat Bucharest Wolves in Cluj after a first-half nightmare saw them slip to a 40-29 defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park. The Falcons did get going in the second period and outscored the Welsh region 26-5 to claim a losing bonus-point.

They have already beaten the Romanian XV 43-19 on the opening weekend of action and if they can repeat that, then they will qualify as one of the best runners-up after the Dragons claimed top spot in Pool Three.

Saul said: “I have never played in Romania before so if I am selected I will look forward to that experience, and hopefully we can start that game how we finished the last one. If Bucharest at home was anything to go by we should come away with the result if we play the game hard and play the game right, and that could put us through to the next round.

“The home game against Bucharest was the first time I had captained the Falcons’ first team, so that was a great honour and a special night for me. I imagine they are a different animal at home, or at least in their home country with the game having been moved to Cluj.

“They have some big old lumps and guys who will want to make it hard work for us, and if we let them bully us or approach it in a passive way it will be a tough game.”

Match Facts

  • Just one point separated these sides in their meeting in Romania, though in England Newcastle won both games by margins greater than 20 points.
  • If Bucharest fail to win this match it will be the first time they have failed to win at least one game in a Challenge Cup campaign (9 previous seasons).
  • Five of Newcastle’s last six away games in the Challenge Cup have been decided by fewer than 10 points (W3, L3).
  • Falcons have lost their last two Challenge Cup games, they have never lost three on the bounce.

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REPORT: Falcons fly into quarter-finals

Saturday 24th January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Newcastle fly-half Tom Catterick reckons the Falcons have nothing to fear from their European Rugby Challenge Cup rematch with Stade Francais on Thursday. - 10/12/2014 10:48

Newcastle fly-half Tom Catterick reckons the Falcons have nothing to fear from their European Rugby Challenge Cup rematch with Stade Francais on Thursday. - 10/12/2014 10:48

Newcastle Falcons confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup with a comfortable 52-10 victory against the Bucharest Wolves in Romania.

The Premiership side had lost their last two games and needed a bonus point victory against the Wolves to make sure of qualification for the knockout stages of the tournament.
They had done that and achieved their aim before half-time, recording a bonus point by scoring four tries in the first 40 minutes at the Cluj Arena in Romania.  
The English side crossed for eight tries to guarantee them a place in the last eight as one of the best runners up from the Pool stages and an away quarter final in the tournament.
The Romanian outfit will be disappointed with their performances in Europe this season, having failed to win a single Pool game for the first time in nine years in the competition.
Three players – prop Rob Vickers, wing Alex Tait and centre Jean Socino – crossed for a brace of tries each for the Falcons.
Prop Vickers set the tone for the English visitors when he crashed over after only five minutes to give his side a lead they would not surrender.
Wing Tait added a second try for the Falcons midway through the second half before the visitors were awarded a penalty try by Welsh referee Neil Hennessy.
Centre Jean Socino secured the much needed bonus point for Dean Richard’s side before half time, while centre Catalin Dascalu did manage a first half try for the home side.
Vickers crossed for his second try at the start of the second half before wing Tait followed suit for his second try before centre Socino did the same midway through the half.
Replacement scrum-half Andy Davies sealed the win with the Falcons eighth try on the 79th minute to end a difficult afternoon for the Wolves on their own patch.

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