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Top meets bottom in Pool A as high-flying Cardiff Rugby prepare to host struggling Newcastle Falcons in Round 3 of the EPCR Challenge Cup on Sunday.
Cardiff have taken maximum points from their opening two games, thrashing CA Brive 41-0 at home before marching to a 47-10 success at Newcastle.
Falcons went down 22-8 at Connacht Rugby prior to that Round 2 defeat and are still searching for their first point in the pool.
However, Cardiff have lost their last two matches in the United Rugby Championship, both of which were at home, and Newcastle come into the game off the back of a stunning 45-26 win over Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership.
The Pool A match kicks off at 13:00 (UK & Irish time) on Sunday at Cardiff Arms Park, and can be watched on Viaplay-Premier Sports and FloRugby.
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) January 10, 2023
Cardiff Rugby assistant coach Matt Sherratt: “The Challenge Cup at the moment, in all reality, is one that gives a lot of chances for clubs to get some silverware and we’ll be going for two wins over the next two weeks, which should give us a home last 16, which is massively important.”
Newcastle Falcons head coach Dave Walder: “We feel like we haven’t given a good account of ourselves in our two opening games and that’s definitely in the back of our minds.”
- Cardiff have scored 14 tries and 88 points – more than any other club to date. Josh Adams is the competition’s joint-top try scorer, with three.
- They have won 24 turnovers, more than any other team, including the most maul (seven) and tackle (seven) turnovers.
- Cardiff have conceded just one try so far – no team has conceded fewer.
- Newcastle have made more forward passes (three) and more intercepted passes (three) than any other team.
- With only two to their tally, the Falcons have scored the joint-fewest tries in the tournament so far.
- Ollie Fletcher threw more successful lineouts in Round 2 than any other player (18), missing just one.
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Cardiff Rugby booked their spot in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 thanks to a dominant 42-10 home win over Newcastle Falcons at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.
Two tries from Owen Lane along with further scores from Lloyd Williams, Rhys Carre, Josh Adams and Harri Millard gave the Welsh region a hefty win.
Newcastle notched a consolation score through Alun Walker, but the dismal day for the visitors also saw Elliott Obatoyinbo sent off for a high tackle.
It was inside the first minute that Lane scored Cardiff’s first before Seb Davies went over moments later, a double score which set an early tone for the rampant performance that was to come.
Rhys Priestland kicked both of those conversions, as he did for every Cardiff try to rack up a personal tally 12 points.
Carre’s effort took Cardiff even further out of sight, with a Tian Schoeman penalty Newcastle’s only response before the break.
And to make matters worse for the Gallagher Premiership out, Elliott Obatoyinbo’s high tackle on the stroke of half-time saw them go down to 14 men for the remainder of the game.
Lane scored his second shortly after the infringement and sent Newcastle into the dressing room reeling.
A Perfect 4️⃣0️⃣@Cardiff_Rugby are in control at the break with the bonus point secured 🔥
How will Newcastle respond in the second half?
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) January 15, 2023
Full-back Adams scored Cardiff’s first points of the second period when he crossed in the 53rd minute, but Newcastle soon got their only try of the game on the hour mark when Walker dotted down.
But Cardiff were not finished, and in the 73rd minute Millard crossed for yet another converted try which further cemented Cardiff’s progression to the next stage of the EPCR Challenge Cup.
Cardiff will close out their Pool A fixtures with a game against CA Brive in France on January 21, while Newcastle will host Irish province Connacht Rugby on the same day.