Newcastle Falcons 10 - 47 Cardiff Rugby
HT 3-26
Sat 17 December 17:30 Kingston Park European Challenge Cup

Newcastle Falcons 10 Cardiff 47

Sat 17 Dec 2022 19:30 Newcastle Falcons 10 Cardiff 47

Cardiff maintained their 100 per cent start to the European Challenge Cup as they ran riot with a 47-10 try victory over Newcastle Falcons. 

The Blue and Blacks wrapped up the bonus-point inside the first-half at a sub-zero Kingston Park thanks to tries from Josh Adams, Rhys Priestland, Owen Lane and Rhys Carré.

Newcastle did show glimpses but Cardiff gave them no hope of an unlikely comeback as they forced a penalty try, before Adams claimed a second and Mason Grady ran the length.

Cardiff now turn attention back to the BKT United Rugby Championship with the Dragons on Boxing Day before Arms Park showdowns against the Ospreys (Jan 1) and Scarlets (Jan 7).

With the Welsh international contingent back and with numerous players returning from injury, Cardiff were all to reshuffle their side, making seven changes to the side that cruised to a bonus-point victory over Brive. 

The likes of Lloyd Williams, Jarrod Evans and Lopeti Timani were rested following an intense run of games, while Rory Thornton and Owen Lane returned from injury, the latter making his first competitive appearance of the season. 

Cardiff made a bright start at a bitterly cold Kingston Park and controlled all the territory before Mateo Carreras launched an unlikely counter attack. He beat two men and following a number of offloads his side were in the Cardiff half.

The Blue and Blacks were soon in possession but Rhys Carré was pinged for chasing a clearance from an offside position. Newcastle went to the corner but they were unable to rumble over and soon ran out of ideas with both half-backs attempting kicks through.

Moments later, they were made to play as Cardiff created the first try from inside their own half. Ellis Jenkins collected the ball at the breakdown and was caught in two minds but he displayed his rugby intelligence as he came back to the short side and put Taulupe Faletau charging through on the overlap.

The number eight galloped into the Falcons half before drawing Elliot Obatoyinbo and firing a pass off his right to Adams, who did the rest. 

Priestland was unable to add the extras from the left touchline but he more than made amends when he finished a fine team try on 20 minutes. 

Cardiff looked threatening on almost every occasion they had the ball and had the upper hand at the set-piece. They would have liked to have been further in front but found themselves pinged by Vivien Praderie but there was no stopping them as Ben Thomas launched an attack. 

He goose-stepped and accelerated to the left to put his side on the front foot before finding Adams on the switch with an offload. 

The wing was unable to add to his tally but two forward charges from Rhys Carré and Rey Lee-Lodid the rest of the damage and Priestland collected an offload to dive over.  He converted the try to make it 0-12 at the end of the opening quarter. 

Newcastle soon hit back with a penalty from former Ospreys fly-half Josh Thomas but the Blue and Blacks took an important stride towards victory as half time approached. 

Adams laid the foundations as he fought to find a gap down the left and his side went through a succession of phases with the likes of Carré, Jenkins, Thomas and Faletau hitting the ball at pace as Cardiff dominated the gain line and recycled ad speed. Newcastle clung on but eventually ran out of numbers with Jenkins sending Lane over for a try in the corner on his comeback.

Priestand added the extras to give his side a commanding 3-19 lead with less than five minutes of the half remaining but there was more to come. 

Cardiff continued to attack coast to coast and when they earned a penalty with just second left on the clock they went back to the corner. Faletau took the ball off the top, Tomos Williams took it to the line with Carré charging around the corner and there was no stopping the giant loose-head.

The try secured the bonus-point and Priestand converted to give the Blue and Blacks a comfortable 23-point lead at the interval. 

Newcastle looked to have claimed a Nathan Earle try within minutes of the restart but replays showed an outstanding covering tackle from Adams had forced the wing into touch before grounding. 

It did not take them long to get over the whitewash as they worked their way back into the red zone and Sam Stuart darted over from close-range. Thomas added the extras to make 10-26. 

However, any faint hope of a Newcastle comeback was extinguished when Cardiff won a penalty from the restart, kicked to the corner and rubbed over for a penalty try. 

The Blue and Blacks turned on the style for their sixth try of the evening as Adams, now at full-back, hit the line on an outside arc and sent a miss-pass to Lane. The wing beat one man before sending an NFL-style flea-flicker back inside to Adams, who cut back to the outside to finish. 

Priestland took his personal tally to 15, as Cardiff continued to empty their bench ahead of three successive Welsh derbies back in the BKT United Rugby Championship. 

Newcastle, to their credit refused to throw in the towel and enjoyed more frequent bright periods of play following the interval but Cardiff showed no mercy and the hosts were dealt another blow when Mason Grady used all 6ft 5ins of his frame to intercept a long pass and race the length of the pitch for his second try in as many weeks. Priestland was again on target and Cardiff now held a 10-47 advantage. 

For as many tries as Cardiff had now scored, Young would have been equally pleased by the fighting spirit his side displayed in defence and this was typified by Lee-Lo, who tracked back and won a penalty virtually on his own try-line after Zach Kerr burst clear. 

Cardiff held out to deny their hosts any further points and sign off the first half of the Challenge Cup campaign with maximum points, as attention now turns to the upcoming derbies and a return to the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Tickets for Cardiff’s back-to-back Welsh derbies at the Arms Park against the Ospreys (Jan 1) and Scarlets (Jan 7), are available now but selling fast. Secure yours today by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030.