Ahead of the 2022/23 EPCR Challenge Cup, we’re looking back at the previous European meetings between the sides drawn to face each other. Next up, we recap the Challenge Cup clashes between Newcastle Falcons and Connacht Rugby, who will meet again in Pool A next season.
2005/06 quarter-finals: Newcastle Falcons 23 Connacht Rugby 3
The first in a series of Challenge Cup contests between the sides saw Newcastle ease to a quarter-final victory at a rainy Kingston Park.
The hosts were in control throughout, with Toby Flood crossing for a fine individual try as well as kicking 13 points. Mike McCarthy also burrowed over for Falcons, with Connacht’s only response being a Paul Warwick penalty just before the break.
2007/08 pool stage: Connacht Rugby 16 Newcastle Falcons 13
A Round 3 encounter at The Sportsground two years later produced a much tighter affair, with Connacht snatching their second win of the pool stage.
Newcastle led through Tom May’s try, converted by Jonny Wilkinson, who also added two penalties, but Connacht clung on to the visitors’ coattails through a Conor O’Loughlin score, which Andy Dunne converted.
The fly-half then drew his side level with a drop-goal before nervelessly slotting a match-winning penalty in the closing minutes.
Newcastle 🦅 cross the Irish sea for their first round match against Connacht 🇮🇪
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) July 26, 2022
2007/08 pool stage: Newcastle Falcons 39 Connacht Rugby 0
Newcastle were much improved in the reverse fixture the following weekend, running in five unanswered tries at Kingston Park.
Tim Visser, Mathew Tait, Toby Flood and Ollie Phillips all dotted down for Falcons before Jonny Wilkinson, who tallied 14 points from the tee, rounded off the try-scoring.
2015/16 pool stage: Connacht Rugby 25 Newcastle Falcons 10
Eight years later, Connacht battled to a Round 3 win at The Sportsground to take control of Pool 1.
The boot of Jack Carty did the majority of the damage for the hosts, with the fly-half kicking six penalties before converting Danie Poolman’s score late on.
That try eased the pressure on Connacht, with Newcastle having been well in contention thanks to a Will Witty try converted by Craig Willis, who also kicked a first-half penalty.
2015/16 pool stage: Newcastle Falcons 29 Connacht Rugby 5
The following weekend, Newcastle were again victorious at Kingston Park, a result which saw them close in on the Irish province at the summit of the pool.
Marcus Watson crossed on 24 minutes, but Connacht hit back shortly afterwards through Danie Poolman, leaving the teams level at the interval.
However, the visitors endured a disastrous start to the second half as they conceded a penalty try and saw Eoghan Masterson sin-binned, with Newcastle racing clear from then on through a Belisario Agulla effort, another penalty try and Watson’s second score.