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Newcastle Falcons will be seeking to extend their outstanding record against Italian sides in the EPCR Challenge Cup when they entertain Zebre Parma for the first time in European competition on Saturday night.
The Gallagher Premiership club have won 14 of their 16 EPCR Challenge Cup clashes against Italian opposition, including their last 13 in a row, with their only losses both coming against Benetton Treviso (October 2000 and December 2002).
Zebre, who prop up Pool A with one point, cannot qualify for the Round of 16, but Newcastle are very much in contention in third place on nine points. The game at Kingston Park will be available to stream live on epcrugby.tv.
Other key facts:
- Newcastle’s last match against any Italian side was back in December 2013 – a 25-10 victory against Rugby Calvisano.
- Zebre are on a four-game losing streak in the EPCR Challenge Cup. Only once before have they endured a longer losing streak in the competition – a six-game run between January 2016 and January 2018.
- Zebre are yet to score a try during the first 20 minutes of either half in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup. However, they have conceded eight tries during the same timeframe.
- No player has successfully completed more tackles in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup than Zebre’s Liam Mitchell (46). Teammate Oliviero Fabiani ranks third 36.
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Newcastle Falcons secured second place in EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A after a last-gasp 25-22 victory over Zebre Parma at Kingston Park.
Newcastle trailed for the majority of the match against opponents who have yet to win this season, but they did just enough to earn a home Round of 16 tie against Glasgow Warriors.
Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti’s 79th minute try, converted by Brett Connon, sealed the spoils and left Zebre feeling hard done by after a spirited display.
Antonio Rizzi landed four penalties to put Zebre 9-0 and 12-5 up in the first half, but tries from Trevor Davison and Luther Burrell for Newcastle, plus Connon’s late penalty made it 13-12 at half-time.
Back in the game 👊@FalconsRugby reduce Zebre Rugby's lead through Trevor Davison at Kingston Park 🦅
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) April 9, 2022
However, Zebre continued to press and were rewarded with Luca Andreani’s try, converted by Rizzi.
Moments prior, Newcastle had Jamie Blamire sin-binned and looked in real trouble when Rizzi added a further penalty for 22-13.
But the hosts hit back through George McGuigan’s try as soon as they were back to 15 men, before stealing the victory late on.
Zebre exit the competition after finishing bottom of the pool.