Falcons in serious relegation bother
Newcastle Falcons may be in with a good chance of reaching the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, but they are in serious relegation trouble after losing to London Irish at the weekend.
Both sides are enduring dismal Premiership campaigns and had each won just one game before they clashed at the Madejski Stadium last weekend in a real relegation dogfight.
At the end of it London Irish had a second win in the bag on a 20-15 scoreline.
The Falcons fell 20-0 behind before a try from flanker Nili Latu sparked a revival, with the boot of veteran Andy Goode, on his league debut for Newcastle, helping them close the gap.
A try from Marcus Watson gave them hope but they were unable to bridge the gap and had to be content with a losing bonus point at the end of a tense affair.
Newcastle make the trip to Russia this weekend knowing that a victory over Enisei-STM will leave them in the hunt for a knockout place in the Challenge Cup when Brive visit Kingston Park in the final round of games next weekend.
But avoiding the drop might be their primary focus from here.
The loss to London Irish leaves them adrift at the bottom of the table on seven points after nine games. The Exiles are a point above them, with Worcester Warriors four points clear of them in third from the bottom.
There is still over half of the Premiership campaign to run because of the late start due to the World Cup, so the Falcons and the others in trouble have plenty of games to play their way out of trouble.