Newcastle Falcons go in to the Premiership season firmly on the front foot, after a convincing 37-10 victory over French big-spenders Racing Metro in Lille on Sunday.
Newcastle outscored their opponents four tries to one, despite taking set pieces instead of a host of kickable penalties.
The match was the Falcons’ final friendly before their Premiership opener against Sale Sharks at Kingston Park on September 7.
Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates will hope to improve on last season’s disappointing campaign which saw them finish above only bottom side Leeds Carnegie in the table.
Bates’ job has not been helped by the departure of England stars Toby Flood and Mathew Tait to Leicester Tigers and Sale respectively.