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Connacht Rugby’s power off the bench made the difference as they ended up beating a battling Newcastle Falcons side 22-8 in the EPCR Challenge Cup in Galway on Saturday.
Paul Boyle got the hosts off to the perfect start with a try on three minutes, but Newcastle worked their way back into it, looking menacing with ball in hand and taking every possible opportunity to get speedster Adam Radwan into the game.
It paid off on 25 minutes, as a cross-field kick was caught and offloaded by Radwan to Nathan Earle, who touched down in the corner to put the away side 8-7 up.
Invisibility cloak, activated 🔥
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) December 10, 2022
But Connacht responded brilliantly with a score from Adam Byrne that will live long in the memory, ensuring that they went into half-time with a six-point lead.
The home side extended their lead with a penalty from David Hawkshaw as both teams largely cancelled each other out in the third quarter before Connacht made a raft of changes and took charge up front with some eye-catching set pieces.
And the Irish province made sure of a hard-earned victory with a try in the final five minutes, Conor Fitzgerald expertly picking out Diarmuid Kilgallen, who leapt acrobatically to take the cross-field kick and make the final score 22-8.
Next up for Connacht is a trip to France to face CA Brive, while Newcastle face Cardiff Rugby at Kingston Park.