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European Challenge Cup

Newcastle see off Montauban

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Alex Tait, Newcastle Falcons

Image credit: PA Photos

ByPA Sport
10/12/2009 at 21:53

Newcastle took another step towards the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a hard-fought 17-6 victory over Montauban at Kingston Park.

The Falcons made it three successive Pool Five wins, opening up a six-point gap on Montauban ahead of next week's return fixture in France.

Full-back Alex Tait stormed over for the game's solitary try during a game littered with unforced handling errors from both teams.

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And fly-half Jimmy Gopperth's four penalties helped Newcastle recover from a 6-3 interval deficit after Johan Dalla Riva and Cedric Coll dropped goals for the visitors.

With only the five pool winners reaching the last eight this season - the remaining three places will be filled by Heineken Cup teams - Newcastle have put themselves in pole position.

And they crucially denied Montauban a losing bonus point by defending strongly during the closing stages when the French side threatened a close-range score.

Falcons scrum-half Micky Young, back in the side after injury, cajoled and prompted at the heels of a dominant Newcastle pack.

But the home team were guilty of wasting several chances before Tait's touchdown produced a huge collective sigh of relief in the Newcastle camp.

Gopperth missed the conversion, yet his four penalties - three in the second half as Newcastle posted 14 unanswered points - ensured victory.

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