Falcons back into quarter-finals contention after victory over Connacht

Newcastle Falcons' DOR Dean Richards

Newcastle Falcons put themselves back in contention for the European Challenge Cup’s quarter-finals with a bonus point victory over Connacht on Sunday.

The Falcons' 29-5 triumph at Kingston Park left them two points behind Connacht with two games left.

And it was all due to a superb second-half performance that saw Newcastle scored 24 unanswered points.

The opening 40 minutes proved a cagey affair, with Marcus Watson's opening try for the home side being cancelled out by Danie Poolman's effort, making it 5-5 at the break. 

Newcastle, though, put their poor Premiership form behind them to make the second 40 minutes a procession. 

A 44th-minute penalty try that Craig Willis converted followed by a Belsario Agulla touchdown left Connacht playing catch-up on a day when victory would have left the Irish province within touching distance of the last-eight. 

Newcastle now had the bit between their teeth, and another penalty try - again converted by Willis - brought the bonus point within sight, and it duly arrived barely 60 seconds later when Watson collected his second try.

Connacht could find no way back, and Newcastle had done enough to ensure that when Challenge Cup action resumes in January, they are in a three-way scrap for last-eight recognition with Connacht and French side Brive.