Newcastle Falcons booked their place in the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup with a bonus-point victory over Newport at Kingston Park.
Stretching their unbeaten run to 15 games for the season, the Falcons ran riot with 15 tries to ensure a safe passage through to the knock-out stages.
Newport had the chance to go three up within the first two minutes of the contest by virtue of a Scott Sneddon penalty, after referee Neil Perkins penalised the Falcons for offside. However Sneddon skewed his effort wide of the upright. What followed was a Falcons master-class as the Kingston Park outfit ran riot in front of many enthusiastic youngsters on the terraces.
After Newport failed with the penalty, the Falcons responded in emphatic fashion, and showed their class with ball in hand to go the length of the field to touch down under the posts. Luke Fielden’s break down the far side earned the hosts perfect territory, before the ball was swiftly moved wide to Shortland, who showed his marker a clean set of heels to cross the whitewash. Joel Hodgson took charge of the day’s kicking responsibilities to add the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Dean Richards’ men registered their second try of the afternoon on the quarter mark courtesy of Ally Hogg, who demonstrated his physical prowess to squeeze in at the corner.
Jamie Helleur’s no-nonsense hit-up through the heart of the Newport defensive line set the Falcons on their way, before full-back Jimmy Gopperth fed Hogg on the overlap for the score.
Hodgson’s touchline conversion was unsuccessful, and the northeasterners held the upper-hand at 12-0.
Three minutes later the Falcons were over for their third score, this time a penalty try as the home side underlined their superiority at the scrum. Hodgson’s simple conversion made it 19-0.
The Falcons were clearly in the mood to put on a show for their supporters, and they were in for try number four midway through the first-half. Richard Mayhew’s clever inside pass to Fielden gave the winger space to run into before he was hauled down just short of the line. At the breakdown James Hudson spurted onto the ball at pace, fending off two would-be tacklers to crash over for a converted try.
Try number five followed on 24 minutes when hooker Rob Vickers finished off a dominating rolling maul on the far side. Hodgson converted to extend his side’s advantage to 33-0.
Fielden crossed for a deserved try on the half hour mark, Gopperth the architect as he dashed half the length of the field before unleashing the Falcons flyer on the overlap. Hodgson failed to get enough purchase on the conversion and the Falcons led 38-0.
Scotland international Rory Lawson dashed in for the Falcons’ seventh try of the day after neat work from the creative Hodgson. The former RGS pupil fed Lawson on the inside to send the Scot in for an easy run to the line. Hodgson added the extras with a well-executed touchline conversion.
With the score now at 45-0, there was no let-up from the Falcons, and three minutes before the break Samoan star Taiasina Tu’ifua buldozed his way over from close-range to hit the 50-point mark for his side, Hodgson cannoning the post with the conversion.
On the stroke of half-time Vickers bagged his second try of the game thanks to a well-worked lineout move. The Yorkshirman received the ball back from Hudson after throwing in at the lineout, and the experienced No.2 went over in the corner unchallenged. Hodgson added gloss to the score-line with the conversion to give the Falcons a 57-0 half-time lead.
In keeping with their first-half display, the Falcons came out of the blocks early, and were over for another try courtesy of Lawson. Doubling his tally, the talented No.9 scooted in at the corner after Fielden’s charge to the line was halted by a scrambling Welsh rearguard. Hodgson was unable to convert and the Falcons were now on 62 points.
Quick around the breakdown, the Falcons were in the groove, moving the ball from right to left at pace. And on 46 minutes Fielden secured his brace when he touched down following an inch-perfect pass from Hodgson. The latter notched up 69 points for his side with the conversion.
Just shy of the hour mark the Falcons mauled their way over for another try from a lineout deep inside Newport’s half to again highlight their supremacy upfront. Well and truly in the box seat, the Falcons now had their sights set on the century.
The Falcons neared that milestone when Hudson, in full-flight went over for his second try after replacement James Fitzpatrick breached the Newport defensive line with a marauding carry. Hodgson nailed the conversion to make it 81-0.
Closing in on 100 points, the Falcons were over once more with just under ten minutes left on the clock. This time Fielden was over for the score, grabbing his hat-trick in the process. Hodgson curled in the conversion between the posts to make it 88-0.
Andrew Higgins crossed in the corner with barely seconds left to make it 93-0 after some quick hands in the backline involving Helleur and Fielden. The Falcons went in search of the century in stoppage time, but were unable to conjure up a clear-cut opportunity. The game ended 93-0 to the Falcons, inflicting Newport's heaviest defeat in the Welsh club's history.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Jimmy Gopperth, 14 Luke Fielden, 13 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Rory Lawson, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 James Hudson, 6 Ally Hogg (c), 7 Richard Mayhew, 8 Taiasina Tu’ifua
Replacements: 16 Michael Mayhew, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 Matt Thompson, 19 Chris York, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Andrew Higgins, 22 James Fitzpatrick
Newport Rugby: 15 Elliott Frewen, 14 Owen Broad, 13 Will Richards, 12 Dominic Franchi, 11 Will Hodnett, 10 Scott Sneddon, 9 Andrew Quick, 1 Dai Pattison, 2 Ryan Prosser, 3 Gethin Robinson (c), 4 Dafydd Rosser, 5 Rhodri Jones, 6 Bendan Lampitt, 7 Oliver Giffiths, 8 Craig Everett
Replacements: 16 Dale Rogers, 17 Jamie Jeune, 18 Andrew Brown, 19 Lance Randell, 20 Dan Robinson, 21 Gerraint O’Driscoll, 22 Rhys Downes
Referee: Neil Perkins (WRU)