Saturday 24 January 2015 – 5.00pm (3.00pm UK time)
Cluj Arena, Cluj-Napoca
European Challenge Cup Pool 3 #6
Job done, I reckon. The Falcons went to Romania for a bonus point win and had it wrapped up after 32 minutes when a penalty try, to add to previous scores by Rob Vickers, Juan Pablo Socino and Alex Tait, put us 28-10 up.
I don’t have much to say about the actual game as I didn’t listen in unfortunately. This morning, Mrs L and I headed deep into the Lake District for a walk around Buttermere (once we found the village to start from!), and didn’t get home until about 3.30pm. I really wanted to go for a run as the weather beat me last night, so I checked the score quickly – bonus point secured! – and headed out to pound the mean streets of South Lakeland.
Ten kilometres, two aching legs and one numb hamstring later, I was home and saw the score was 10-52 in the dying minutes. Excellent, that’ll do! For the first time since 2010, the Falcons are in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.
Early reports from the game don’t say too much, Twitter suggests that we were dominant for most of the game as the scoreline suggests. The final try, scored by Andy Davies, was apparently a nice team try, so that’s good to see. I suppose in these games it’s no-win, as we’re expected to go over and get five points, it’s only if we don’t that anyone gets excited.
So the QF seedings currently look like this:
Gloucester 29pts (Pool 5 winners)
Newport Gwent Dragons 25pts (Pool 3 winners)
London Irish 24pts (Pool 1 winners)
Edinburgh 22pts (Pool 4 winners)
Exeter 20pts (Pool 2 leaders, playing Bayonne at home tonight)
Cardiff Blues 24pts (Pool 2 runners-up)
Newcastle 21pts (Pool 3 runners-up)
Bordeaux-Begles 16pts (Pool 4 runners-up)
Connacht, on 15 points in Pool 2, could still claim the eighth-seed position if they get at least two points away to La Rochelle tomorrow. It would take a 40-plus-point win for Exeter to be able to overtake Newport Gwent Dragons and take second spot, so as the Falcons are guaranteed to be seventh seeds, we are going back to Rodney Parade in April!
That’s not terrible, as it’s a ground we have a half-decent record at and of course we won the equivalent game in the pool round, before last week’s debacle against the Welshmen at KP.
It’ll be an interesting encounter, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling that after that game I might be pre-emptively booking tickets for the final at the Stoop in May.
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)