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Newcastle Falcons claim European victory over Italian opposition
NEWCASTLE FALCONS maintained their push towards the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup with a comfortable 37-15 win over Italian side Calvisano.
Falcons are level on points with Brive at the top of Pool Three, and with the French club due to visit Kingston Park at the start of next month, Dean Richards' side remain favourites to progress from the group stage of the competition.
Yesterday's win was their second Challenge Cup success, and while it came from a scrappy encounter, the final result was never really in doubt.
With their pack assuming the upper hand from the off, Falcons claimed a tenth-minute lead courtesy of Rory Clegg's penalty.
Kelly Haimona levelled things with a three-pointer of his own for Calvisano, but after another Clegg penalty restored Falcons' lead, the hosts scored their opening try through Zach Kibirige.
The former Yarm School pupil has barely featured this season, but his searing pace remains as potent as ever and it will be interesting to see how he fares if he is involved at Premiership level in the next few weeks.
Noah Cato claimed a try of his own midway through the first half, and while Calvisano struck back with a score from Michele Visentin that took the half-time scoreline to 20-8, the hosts continued to have the upper hand after the interval.
A penalty try at the start of the second period underlined their dominance up front, and the four-try bonus point was secured when Chris York crossed.
Joel Hodgson was introduced from the replacements' bench with 24 minutes left, but Calvisano showed late signs of life when number eight Braam Steyn scored the Italians' second try of the afternoon.
There was still time for Cato to score his second and Newcastle's fifth try though, and while the final conversion attempt was unsuccessful, the game was already comfortably won.
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