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Newcastle Falcons hopes of the reaching the European Challenge Cup suffered a heavy blow in Russia as they were beaten 24-7 by Enisei-STM at Yug Stadium.
Enisei outscored the Falcons by three tries to one in the match and the English side failed to earn a point from the Pool One contest.
A much-changed Falcons line-up trailed 14-7 on half-time and went on to concede a further 10 points in a frustrating match on the Black Sea coast.
They trailed just five minutes into a match which had been moved from Enisei’s Krasnoyarsk base due to the Siberian winter – Sochi offering no worries on the temperature front as the Russians chased a second successive victory at Yug Stadium.
Left wing Denis Simplikevich had the home side in front when he came infield and offered a big hand-off which opened a defensive hole.
Fly-half Iurii Kushnarev slotted the conversion on a day when the experienced Russian international kicked four from four, Newcastle pressing through Zach Kibirige’s run but having to wait until the 21st minute to find a reply.
That came when George McGuigan’s burst and offload found the supporting Calum Green, the lock-forward powering over from five yards out for Tom Penny to convert.
It was to be the Falcons’ final score despite Tom Catterick and Juan Pablo Socino combining in midfield to find an outside gap – Enisei pressing for a second try when a penalty kick was booted to the other wing rather than directly into touch.
The kick failed to find its man on that occasion but the home side still had their tails up, and they chiselled out a second try before the half-hour when Kushnarev’s inside pass found Georgian international centre David Kacharava within striking distance of the line.
Kushnarev added the extras from the right, Enisei maintaining their seven-point advantage by the interval and quickly building on it in the second half.
The Falcons’ attempts to play a wide game looked like bringing about the possibility of better things, but it was the Kushnarev-Kacharava axis which again caught out their defence when the fly-half fed the centre on another super inside line for Enisei’s third touch-down.
Kushnarev slotted the conversion, and when Mouritz Botha was sin-binned for an offence at a ruck near his own line the stand-off added the simple penalty from the 22. It was to be the last score of the game despite both teams pressing hard – Newcastle’s mixture of youngsters and fringe players having endured a tough lesson.
Final Score Enisei-STM 24 (14) Newcastle Falcons 7 (7)
Tries – Simplikevich, Kacharava 2
Pen – Kushnarev
Con – Kushnarev 3
Tries – Green
Con – Penny
Referee: Tual Trainini (France),
Assistant ref: Vincent Blasco Baqué (France),
Assistant ref: Jonathan Gasnier (France),
Citing Comissioner: Iain Goodall (Scotland)
Enisei-STM: Ramil Gaisin; Jurijs Baranovs (c), David Kacharava, Mikhail Babaev, Denis Simplikevich; Iurii Kushnarev, Alexey Shcherban; Alexey Volkov, Nazir Gasanov, Innokentiy Zykov, Uldis Saulite, Viacheslav Krasylnyk, Vitalii Orlov, Andrey Temnov, Anton Rudoi
Replacements: Stanislav Selskii, Andrei Polivalov, Evgenii Pronenko, Mikhail Sidorov, Sergey Kuzmenko, Nikolay Serkov, Dmitriy Simonov, Plavel Butenko
Newcastle Falcons: Tom Penny; Zach Kibirige, Adam Powell, Juan Socino, Belisario Agulla; Tom Catterick, Jamie Booth; Alex Rogers, George McGuigan, Paddy Ryan, Calum Green, Will Witty, Richard Mayhew (c), Dan Temm, Callum Chick
Replacements: Rob Hawkins, Ben Harris, Andy Foster, Mouritz Botha, Kane Thompson, Ruaridh Dawson, Adam Redman, Dan Marshall.
With thanks to Newcastle Falcons
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