Greg Goosen played a starring role as last season’s beaten finalists Newcastle opened their LV= Cup this year with a 33-3 victory over Cardiff at Kingston Park.
Falcons full-back Goosen grabbed a hat-trick of tries and the Falcons had the try bonus point wrapped up early in the second half against a young Blues side missing several of their World Cup stars.
In a game played at blistering pace throughout, the hosts scored three first-half tries – two of them in the first eight minutes.
They signalled their intention from the off by spurning a penalty kick at goal to find the corner, their reward coming when Mark Wilson was driven over from the line-out for a try converted by Jimmy Gopperth.
Rhys Patchell missed a penalty for Cardiff and it was quickly 12-0 with a searing break from Gopperth and a fantastic flick pass from Ally Hogg allowing Goosen to score Newcastle's second try in the eighth minute. Gopperth was unable to convert that effort but Goosen extended his side's lead with his second of the game shortly before the half-hour mark.
Newcastle again opted not to kick at goal and took two successive scrums instead, which led to Gopperth flinging out a long pass and Corne Uys then flicking the ball back inside for Goosen to surge through.
Gopperth converted the try for a 19-0 lead but, to their credit, Cardiff kept playing running rugby with number eight Luke Hamilton particularly impressive.
However, it was Newcastle who turned their periods of possession into points, Goosen completing his treble hat-trick in the 51st minute. He took the ball at pace from a scrum close to the Cardiff line to clinch the bonus, Gopperth again adding the extra points to make it 26-0.
Cardiff finally got on the scoreboard with a 54th-minute penalty but Newcastle's forwards were in no mood to let the Blues off the hook when Gopperth forced them back into the corner with a superb kick.
The Falcons pack battered away at the worn-out Blue until Michael Mayhew crashed over, the conversion making it 33-3 in just the 60th minute. From then on, though, the Aviva Premiership Rugby outfit took their foot off the gas.
Cardiff in contrast pushed forward in the closing quarter, at one stage camping themselves on the Newcastle line for nearly five minutes. They also had another opportunity to register a try in the closing stages only for the ball to be spilled at an attacking line-out, allowing their opponents to clear to touch and bring about the final whistle.