Our overview of the EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A sides continues with a look at Gallagher Premiership outfit Newcastle Falcons.

EPCR Challenge Cup record

Newcastle have appeared in the semi-finals of the competition five times – in 1997-98, 2000-01, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2017-18.

They failed to reach the final on each occasion, being beaten by Colomiers (12-9), Harlequins (17-12), London Irish (27-22), Worcester Warriors (31-16) and Gloucester Rugby (33-12) respectively.

Falcons have fallen at the quarter-final stage seven times, most recently in the 2020-21 campaign when they went down 39-15 at Leicester Tigers.

Last season

Newcastle reached the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 after finishing second in Pool A, beating Worcester (31-26), Biarritz Olympique (17-13) and Zebre Parma (25-22).

However, they were unable to progress to the quarter-finals as they suffered a 27-17 home defeat at the hands of Glasgow Warriors.

Head coach

Dave Walder took over of rugby matters at Newcastle following the departure of director of rugby Dean Richards this summer.

Walder has coached Falcons for the past five years and spent seven years at the club as a player between 1999 and 2006.

The four-time England fly-half tallied 388 points in 51 appearances in EPCR competitions, turning out for both Newcastle and Wasps.

Key players

Hooker Jamie Blamire, prop Trevor Davison and back-row forward Callum Chick all have England caps to their name and are key components of the Newcastle pack.

Back-row forward Will Welch is vastly experienced and has been at Falcons since 2009, while fly-half Brett Connon is a reliable kicker.

Matias Moroni joined from Leicester Tigers in the summer, with fellow centre Matias Orlando and rapid wing Mateo Carreras a trio of Argentina international talents. England wing Adam Radwan is another tricky customer in the backs.

Pool fixtures

Newcastle visit Connacht Rugby in their opening Pool A clash on December 10 and welcome Cardiff Rugby to Kingston Park in Round 2 a week later.

Round 3 sees Falcons travel to Cardiff on January 15 before they host Connacht in Round 4 on January 21.