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Falcons must wait on last eight spot
January 10, 2000

Newcastle blew the opportunity of booking a European Shield quarter-final place with a match to spare when they were the victims of a 17-10 upset at Aurillac this afternoon.

The Falcons, defending a 100% record in the tournament, now have to beat Narbonne in their home match on Friday night to make certain of making the last eight.

Newcastle went ahead after only two minutes when captain and flanker Richard Arnold went over for a try, fly half Jonny Wilkinson converting.

Wilkinson added a penalty goal after 30 minutes for them to lead 10-3 at the break, but it all changed in the second half as Aurillac staged a decisive comeback.

Replacement scrum-half Sebastien Bonnet went over for a try after 63 minutes, and with fly-half Ludovic Mercier landing four penalty goals the French club pulled off a major victory.

In another turn-up, Bedford lost 20-10 at home to Italian club Rovigo, ending any faint Bedford hopes of making it through to the knockout stages as the best runner-up from the seven pools.

Alistair Murdoch got a first-half try, converted by Chris Richards. But Rovigo finished the stronger with two tries of their own to notch up their first win in the tournament.

Brive, the 1997 Heineken Cup winners, will not make the Shield quarter-finals this time, but still packed too much firepower at Roma, winning 43-18 with wing Jerome Carrat collecting two of their six tries.

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