European Rugby Challenge Cup - Connacht Preview

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Falcons ready to face Connacht in the second of back to back matches against Pat Lam's side

The European Rugby Challenge Cup returns to Kingston Park this Sunday as Pat Lam’s Connacht arrive, looking to take command of Pool 1 in the tournament.

Connacht handed themselves a useful advantage last Friday, taking a 25-10 win at a raucous Galway Sportsground, however the Falcons will be hopeful that a busy Kingston Park can swing the qualification pendulum back in their favour and keep the record intact of victories in this fixture, going the way of the home team.

Competitive matches between the two sides are actually something of a rarity, Sunday’s game will be only the fifth competitive encounter between the Falcons and Connacht Rugby, with the head to head currently at two games apiece following last week’s win by Pat Lam’s side.

The first ever meeting between the teams in anger came in season 2005/2006 in the quarter finals of the European Challenge Cup at Kingston Park. Orchestrated superbly by a man of the match performance from, then emerging Fly Half Toby Flood, an impressive Falcons side booked their passage into the semi finals with a 23-3 win.

The Irish side equalised the head to head on the sides next meeting in December 2007, when they edged a pool 3 fixture 16-13 at The Sportsground against a strong Falcons side, that included a certain Carl Hayman making his first appearance for the club.

The return leg a week later saw the largest ever European Challenge Cup crowd at Kingston Park welcome the Kiwi powerhouse to his new home.

The 7.426 in attendance were treated to a free flowing encounter that gave a 39-0 victory and a welcome early Christmas present to then Director of Rugby John Fletcher and his team.

Following other results in Pool 1 last weekend, which saw Enisei STM record a historic 10-7 win over Brive, the destiny of Pool 1 has been blown wide open, with the Falcons and Brive tied in second place on six points.

A win for both this weekend back on home territory would make it tight at the top of the table and set up an enthralling final block of fixtures in early January.

Supporters wishing to be in the crowd this Sunday still have time to purchase tickets, starting from £15 for adult standing and £25 for adult seating by clicking here, calling 0871 2266060 or by visiting the Kingston Park Box Office.

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