Newcastle Falcon’s parted company with Coach Alan Tait this week and the instant response on the pitch has already shown promise.
The Falcons main concern for the remainder of this season will be to secure Premiership survival but their display against Petarca Padova in the Challenge Cup will give a glimmer of hope to this seemingly impossible chance.
Falcons ran out 43-0 winners against their Italian counterparts, scoring seven tries in the process. The experimental Newcastle side took a while to get going, but once they did, in the second half they looked impressive. Their win has shortened their latest Rugby betting odds to 11/10 to avoid relegation.
With the score at an unconvincing 7-0 at half time the Falcons seemed to wake up at the break, running in a further 36 points without opening the game up enough to concede a single point themselves.
It is unlikely that the Falcons will qualify for the knockout stages of the European competition, but this encounter, along with their game against Lyon on Saturday will give them the chance to build for the rest of the season and a push towards their ominous task of trying to catch Wasps, Bath or Worcester.
New boss Gary Gold arrives in Newcastle this week and he will have got a mixed view of his task from this game. Yes the second half was impressive, but the first half exposed everything that has been wrong with the Falcons and their inability to finish enough chances all season.
His task to secure the Falcons Premiership survival does not kick off until the middle of February. Games against Sale and Leicester in the LV=Cup will provide a chance against a higher standard of opposition but eyes will firmly be on the league matches, starting with their trip to Bath as they look to close the 9 point gap to Wasps in the remainder of the season.
His task won’t be made any easier by the international break, even if the Six Nations Betting Odds suggest that at least some Newcastle players will have a taste of victroy (and the confidence boost that comes with it).