Newcastle Falcons continued their impressive form at Kingston Park with victory over star-studded Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Two magnificent Jimmy Gopperth penalties coupled with a gutsy and spirited display in the forward line claimed a famous win against the French aristocrats.
That triumph made it six games unbeaten on home soil and three wins out of three in Europe putting the Falcons in a strong position in which to challenge for a place in the knockout stages of the competition.
Alan Tait’s men braved the gale force winds and torrential downpour to secure the win ahead of next week’s return fixture in sunnier climbs.
Following the trip to Toulon the northeasterners are away to Sale Sharks on Boxing Day before hosting Northampton Saints on the rescheduled date of New Year’s Eve (kick-off 2pm).
The first-half was a war of attrition as both sides looked to use their power up front to get the upper hand on their opponent.
Toulon were keen to be patient with ball in hand but the Falcons showed more cutting edge in attack with some neat handling.
Grant Shiells who had an outstanding game up against former Falcon Carl Hayman, along with man-of-the-match James Hudson and Andrew van der Heijden were all in fine fettle.
Bernarde Laporte’s side went close to a touchdown on the half hour mark following a series of drives but a magnificent Falcons rearguard held up the Toulon attacker over the line to prevent the five-point score.
Gopperth got his first sniff of goal on 34 minutes but the blustery conditions caused his attempt to skew wide of the left upright.
Scoreless at the interval it was not long before the Tyneside unit were on the march with a successful penalty converted by Gopperth five minutes into the second period.
The Kiwi repeated the feat on 48 minutes with an even greater effort, this time from just inside Toulon’s half to the delight of a passionate North East crowd.
Toulon hit back immediately with a penalty success of their own through Julien Dumora to give the hosts food for thought going into the closing stages.
However Newcastle stood strong and even came close to crossing the whitewash on 56 minutes courtesy of Euan Murray who bulldozed his way over the line only to be held up.
The final whistle was greeted by a rapturous applause by the Kingston Park Faithful who witnessed a courageous performance from their boys.
Every Falcons player as well as backroom staff showed their appreciation to the fans before heading to a delighted dressing room.
Skipper Hudson picked up the man-of-the-match champagne sponsored by Amlin at a post match press conference in front of the live Sky Sports cameras.
In typical fashion the giant lock paid tribute to his teammates and insisted his side could continue to build on their recent good form which has seen wins over London Wasps, Cardiff Blues, Lyon, Toulon and a draw with Worcester.
Tickets are available for the Falcons next home game against Northampton on New Year’s Eve (kick-off 2pm).
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Newcastle: Goosen; Eves, Helleur, Fitzpatrick, Shortland; Gopperth, Pasqualin; Shiells, Graham, Murray; Hudson, Van der Heijden; Wilson, Welch, R Mayhew.
Replacements: Hogg for Goosen (75), Catterick for Shortland (41), Chudley for Pasqualin (50), Wells for Shiells (68), Frazier for Graham (80), Tu'ifua for R. Mayhew (50).
Not Used: Fearn, Pilgrim.
Toulon: Rooney; Sinzelle, Bastareaud, Messina, Lapyeyre; Dumora, Magnaval; Roberts, Orioli, Hayman; Mikautadze, Schofield; Gunther, Faosilvia, Rokobara.
Replacements: Chiocci for Orioli (63), Samson for Mikautadze (54), Armitage for Faosilvia (63).
Not Used: Ivaldi, Chilachava, Bonnet, Wilkinson, Palisson.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)