A look ahead to Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup fixture against Enisei STM
Newcastle Falcons will break new ground in this weekend’s European Rugby Challenge Cup as they play on Russian soil for the first time, against Enisei STM in the resort city of Sochi.
Having hosted the side from Krasnoyarsk in Siberian in round two, the Falcons will undertake a mere 2000 mile journey for the return fixture, as the game switches from Enisei’s home city and temperatures in the minus twenties to the shores of the Black Sea.
Taking place at the Yug Stadium, which is part of the largest sports training centre in Russia’s south, Saturday’s game will see the hosts looking to take a second consecutive home Challenge Cup win, having taken their inaugural triumph in the competition against Brive in round three.
Having built a 10-0 half time lead through Nazir Gasanov’s try and five points from the boot Iurii Kushnarev, the home side withstood a ferocious fight back from the French team to take a famous result.
In the previous meeting between the two sides last November, the Falcons delivered a complete performance to take a 55-7 win to keep touch with Connacht at the top of the pool. Former England 7s international Marcus Watson announced himself to the Falcons faithful with four tries, while the ever reliable Mark Wilson grabbed a hat trick and Watson’s wing partner Zach Kibirige scored a pair in a nine try showing.
With qualification from pool one potentially a three way battle between Brive, Connacht and Newcastle, a professional performance in Russia will be demanded by the players and coaches to ensure that next week’s fixture against Brive is played with destiny of qualification firmly in the Falcons own hands.
Supporters wishing to watch the game can do so by clicking here to access the official live stream.