Challenge Cup commences with Ospreys opener

Monday 10 October 2016 Written by: Adam

Newcastle Falcons begin their quest to set out on the road to Edinburgh this weekend, as the club’s 2016/17 European Rugby Challenge Cup gets under way against Ospreys on Friday night (KO 19:05)

The trip to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium is the first meeting between the two sides in European competition, although the clubs have met each other previously in the 2010/11 Anglo Welsh Cup.

Taking place on the Falcons home turf, a brace of tries from Luke Fielden and eight points from the boot of Jimmy Gopperth secured an 18-17 win in the only fixture between the clubs in the professional era to date.

Part of Pool 2 in this year’s tournament, the Falcons and Ospreys are joined by Top 14 sides Lyon and Grenoble, with the Falcons having faced both of the French clubs twice in the tournament.

Season 2011-12 saw Newcastle beat Lyon 27-19 at Kingston Park but lose 21-13 away at Matmut Stadium, while in 2002-2003 the Falcons did the double over Grenoble, winning 19-12 in the Alps and 33-17 at Kingston Park.

With a more routine group for the Falcons this season following last year’s excursion to Russia, director of rugby Dean Richards is still expecting the tournament to offer a challenge to his side.

He said: “We always enjoy the European Challenge Cup and the exposure it offers our players. Our pool sees us face quality opposition with testing fixtures away from home.”

Following Friday’s game in Wales, the first home action of this season’s tournament takes place on Sunday 23 October, when FC Grenoble make the trip to Kingston Park in a game that will reacquaint the Falcons boss with a former club.

Richards added “I spent some time with Grenoble just over a decade ago. It is a great part of the world and our supporters will enjoy that trip, and I’m sure they will provide quality opposition for our first match at home.”

Tickets for the opening home game of the European Rugby Challenge Cup and all other confirmed home fixtures are now on sale.

[Click here][1] to be taken to the online box office.