Falcons swoop to clip Eagles' wings
A dogged Connacht Eagles performance was not enough to prevent Newcastle Falcons from all but ensuring a quarter-final place at Kingston Park.
Stout defence from the Westerners prevented any movement on the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes.
The Eagles' rearguard eventually succumbed on the half-hour mark when loosehead Jon Golding crashed over from close range thanks to an inch-perfect delayed pass from scrum-half Warren Fury.
Connacht reduced the arrears three minutes into the second period when centre Tadhg Leader slotted a penalty.
On 61 minutes replacement out-half Joel Hodgson extended the hosts' lead to 10-3 with a sweetly struck penalty.
Leader dispatched another three-pointer before Hodgson restored his side's advantage 10 minutes from time. He repeated the feat moments later to make it 16-6.
Newcastle Falcons – T Catterick; L Fielden, T Tu'ipulotu, J Fitzpatrick, A Higgins; W Luveniyali, W Fury; J Golding, R Vickers, O Tmaszczyk; C del Fava, S McLeod; M Wilson, W Welch (c), R Mayhew.
Connacht Eagles – S Macauley; M McCrea, T Leader, B Murphy, C Finn; J Carty, D Moore; R Ah'You, A Flavin; JP Cooney, C Kindregan, D Gannon; TJ Anderson (c), D Heffernan, A Conneely
Ref – K White (SRU)