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Newcastle Falcons will aim to stay on top spot in Challenge Cup Pool 1 on Friday night as they take on Dragons at Rodney Parade. Falcons have won two of the previous three meetings between the clubs, including the 32-27 win at Kingston Park in Round 1.
· Newcastle have lost seven of their last eight away from home (W1), although their one victory in that run came against Bordeaux-Bègles in Round 2.
· The Dragons have won each of their last two at home to Aviva Premiership opposition, this after winning just one of five such fixtures before that (L4).
· Newcastle (32) and the Dragons (27) have averaged more kicks from hand than any other side in the Challenge Cup this season.
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Newcastle Falcons retained control of European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 1 with a tense 27-25 victory over second-placed Dragons at Rodney Parade on a dank Friday evening in Newport.
- Wingers Adam Radwan and Zach Kibirige both scored as well as flanker Gary Graham as Newcastle Falcons opened up on seven-point gulf at the Pool 1 summit, moving one step closer to a quarter-final berth with two rounds of action still to play.
- Winter may have set in across Newport, but the action soon heated up, with 41 points exchanged between the sides in the first half.
- Newcastle Falcons flyer Radwan was the first to cross, adding to his Round 3 brace with another try, 10 minutes into the game, and Kibirige dotted down from the opposite wing two minutes later as the visitors raced to a 14-0 lead.
- Dragons hit back through an unlikely hero as hooker Elliot Dee claimed a brace of tries in the space of six minutes to draw the hosts level, before an exchange of penalty kicks between Gavin Henson and Joel Hodgson brought the scoreline to 17-17.
- Newcastle Falcons had not finished their first-half efforts, though, as back-row forward Graham forced his way over the whitewash to as the visitors took a 24-17 advantage into the interval.
- Dragons winger Ashton Hewitt raced over 10 minutes after the break to revive home hopes, but Henson would go on to rue a missed conversion, although the fly-half did three points from the tee soon after.
- However, with a solitary point between the sides, the door had been left open for Newcastle Falcons to claim victory via the boot of Hodgson, who slotted his second penalty of the evening on 66 minutes.
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