Falcons cut loose against Italians

NEWCASTLE Falcons kept their hopes of qualifying for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals alive with a resounding victory over Italian side Petrarca Padova at Kingston Park.

Led by forwards coach Paul Moriarty following Alan Tait's departure at the end of last week, Falcons ran in seven unanswered tries against limited opposition.

The club's new director of rugby, Gary Gold, arrives from South Africa later this week, and while today's game will have taught him little he did not already know, at least his players can draw confidence from a comprehensive win.

With the Kingston Park groundstaff having worked around the clock to enable the game to take place despite freezing conditions, Newcastle took time to get out of the blocks.

A converted try from full-back Tom Catterick was all they had to show for their first-half efforts, with a half-time scoreline of 7-0 not really providing a true reflection of their superiority.

However, they cut loose after the break, with centre James Fitzpatrick crossing shortly after the interval and fly-half Joel Hodgson completing an eye-catching passing move to make it 21-0.

Winger Ryan Shortland crossed to secure a four-try bonus point, before further scores from scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin and prop Ashley Wells extended Newcastle's lead.

Shortland's second try of the afternoon completed the scoring, and Falcons will complete their Pool Two campaign with a trip to Lyon on Saturday.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS: Catterick, Fielden, Eves, Manning, Shortland, Hodgson, Pilgrim; Wells, Graham, Hall, Tu'ifua, Swinson, Mayhew, Pennycook, Wilson.

Replacements: Mayhew, Fearn, Shiells, Hogg, Welch, Pasqualin, Chudley, Fitzpatrick.

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