Newcastle Falcons looks ahead to Friday's ERCC game against CA Brive
Newcastle Falcons take a well trodden path this weekend as they travel to face CA Brive, in the opening round of the 2015/16 Challenge Cup on Friday evening.
Drawn against the 1996/97 Heineken Cup Champions for the sixth season since 2005, the Falcons and the French counterparts are well acquainted with matches between the pair traditionally, close affairs. Out of the ten meetings to date, wins are split at five a piece, with seven of the fixtures decided by seven points or less.
Heading to the Stade Amédée-Domenech, the Falcons last won at the venue in season 2007/2008 when a converted try from Toby Flood, along with four penalties from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson sent the Falcons into the knock out stages.
With eight games played in the Top 14, CA Brive currently sit fifth behind powerhouse teams Clermont, Toulouse, Racing 92 and Toulon with victories over Stade Francais, Agen, Toulon, Pau and Bordeaux. With four of these wins coming on their home patch, they will provide determined opposition on Friday.
While the Falcons have announced a squad with an English qualified focus, Brive have equally pinned the colours to a home grown mast, with 25 of their 41 players eligible for Les Bleu.
The city is located in the Limousin region of France and is home to 7% of the population in what is one of the most sparsely populated areas of France.
Brive-la-Gaillarde, as it has been called since 1919, has a proud history dating back as far the first century AD and was the regional capital of the French Resistance during the Second World War. It was also the first city in occupied France to liberate itself by its own means in August 1944, for which it received the Croix de guerre 1939-1945 military decoration.
Twinned with Dunstable in the United Kingdom, Brive-la-Gaillarde is the home town of noted mathematician Cedric Villani along with French internationals Cedric Heymans and Dimitri Yachvili.