Cardiff Rugby 42 - 10 Newcastle Falcons
HT 28-3
Sun 15 January 13:00 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,464 European Challenge Cup

Cardiff 42 Newcastle Falcons 10

Sun 15 Jan 2023 14:40 Cardiff 42 Newcastle Falcons 10

Cardiff cruised into the European Challenge Cup knockout stages with a six try victory over Newcastle Falcons at the Arms Park. 

Owen Lane bagged a brace while Lloyd Williams and Rhys Carré also crossed in a dominant first-half display, which wrapped up the bonus-point.

Josh Adams and Harri Millard scored following the break and Rhys Priestland was flawless with the boot as the Blue and Blacks recorded a third consecutive bonus-point win in the competition to climb back to the top of Conference A 

On the back of two agonising Welsh derby defeats, Cardiff returned to the Arms Park for a third consecutive game determined to get back to winning ways.

They began Round Three of the Challenge Cup at the top of Conference A, following bonus-point wins over Brive and Newcastle in the opening fixtures and knew just a point should be enough to secure a place in the last 16.

A home draw however, was the target and Cardiff made the perfect start with a try inside two minutes. 

Newcastle were under pressure right from the off, with Teddy Williams charging down their clearance. They did eventually exit but big carriers from Jason Harries and Mason Grady put Cardiff in the ascent and slick hands released Lane to cross in the right hand corner.

Priestland converted and barely three minutes passed before he was back at the tee as Cardiff grabbed a quick-fire second. 

Once again it was Newcastle’s inability to efficiently exit that created the chance and following a succession of forward charges, Williams sniped over from close-range. 

Tian Schoeman knocked over the visitors’ first points on eight minutes but Cardiff remained in control and thought they had clinched a third try just moments later. 

Williams put his namesake Teddy Williams though the Newcastle defence and he galloped into the  twenty-two and he showed good patience to delay his pace to Seb Davies. The second-row powered over but referee Vivien Praderie brought play back for obstruction. 

As time went on, Newcastle settled and they enjoyed periods of pressure but they were dealt a blow when Lane picked off a pass just outside his own twenty-two to race home. Priestland was again on target and Cardiff now possessed a commanding 21-3 lead.

The visitors displayed plenty of resilience and a long period of pressure saw Kirby Myhill sent to the sin-bin but once again Cardiff broke out.

This time it was Taulupe Faletau who pounced on loose ball to race into the Falcons half. Unfortunately he did not see Lloyd Williams on his inside and grubbed to the corner for Lane.

Newcastle survived but not for long and they were soon reduced to 14 men when Elliott Obatoyinbo was shown red. 

The Blue and Blacks were playing with the advantage when Josh Turnbull flung a long ball to Jason Harries on the left. The wing charged full force at the whitewash but he was brought to a half by the full-back. 

It was unfortunate but replays showed a high degree of force and clear contact to the head meaning Praderie had no choice. 

Cardiff came back for a tap penalty and as the bodies piled up on the try-line, Carré bulldozed over for his second try in as many weeks, his fourth of the season. 

Priestland maintained his 100 per cent record and Cardiff now held a 28-3 lead as they jogged in for the interval.

Newcastle were fortunate not to be reduced to 13-men early in the second half when Pedro Rubiolo caught Lane with a swinging arm just a minute into his debut.

He escaped unpunished as Praderie opted for just a penalty but after working their way back downfield, Cardiff soon claimed a fifth try through Adams.

Playing at full-back, the Wales international straightened the line and then skipped around the last man for his ninth try in eight games. 

On the whole, Cardiff withstood Newcastle's pressure thanks to alert defending on the try-line, however the visitors were ultimately rewarded for their efforts as debutant Alun Walker powered over from close range.

But it was the hosts who had the final word on a crisp winter afternoon at the Arms Park. A turnover ball in midfield saw Ellis Jenkins produce a stunning offload out of the back door, releasing replacement Harri Millard on the left hand side, who pinned his ears back to finish from the half way mark.

Cardiff climb back to the summit of Pool A, maintaining their maximum points total, and will be targeting a home knockout draw as the opening rounds draws to a close in Brive next week.