Two tries inside the opening 12 minutes from Martin Corry and Jordan Crane put Leicester Tigers on the way to a win which lifts them to second in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP.
Andy Goode won the battle of the boot with Jonny Wilkinson – claiming the spoils in their kicking duel by 21 points to nine.
Goode spoiled his performance by being yellow carded for a high tackle in the 67th minute – he had been handed the same punishment against Leinster seven days earlier for a similar offence.
His kicking haul included 17 points in the first half which helped Leicester power into a 27-9 interval lead – and they went on to wrap up a third successive league win and a bonus point.
But their tenure in second place may be short lived with Bath travelling to Saracens on Sunday knowing they can reclaim second place from Marcelo Loffreda’s team.
Julian White was missing for Tigers after being handed a seven-day ban by the club following last week’s yellow card against Leinster.
But the hosts welcomed back big guns Martin Corry, Lewis Moody, George Chuter, Ben Kay and Aaron Mauger following last week’s Heineken Cup crushing of Leinster as they chased a third straight win.
The history of clashes between the sides suggested they would do just that with Newcastle having won just once in their previous 10 visits to Welford Road back in 1997.
But they started with a backline boasting the talents of 2003 World Cup hero Wilkinson, Jamie Noon, Matt Tait and Toby Flood.
Former All Black Carl Hayman was in the pack with James Grindal making a return to Leicester at number nine and, history apart, there was reason for the Falcons to travel to Welford Road with confidence following last week’s 15-try demolition of Spanish champions Cetransa El Salvador.
That confidence was soon put to the test.
Corry marked his return to the side with the try which opened the scoring in the fourth minute. He took a long pass on the left, brushed off a challenge and ran through unopposed from 20 metres to touch down in the left hand corner.
Goode missed the conversion from near the left-hand touchline and Wilkinson’s boot registered Newcastle’s first points with a sixth minute penalty.
Goode screwed wide a penalty attempt on eight minutes, but the second try for Tigers followed three minutes later. Jordan Crane used Tom Varndell as a decoy outside him to crash over and Goode added the extras to make it 12-3 after 12 minutes.
Wilkinson and Goode swapped penalties in the space of the next six minutes to leave the score 15-6 at the end of the opening quarter.
Goode added another penalty in the 23rd minute to put Tigers 12 points clear and added another six minutes later. Wilkinson replied in the 31st minute and then two Goode penalties in the space of four minutes made it 27-9 at the interval.
Newcastle looked like they were back in the game three minutes after the restart through Toby Flood’s try that Wilkinson failed to convert, but Leicester grabbed their third try two minutes later through Johne Murphy and Goode’s conversion made it 34-14.
The bonus point was secured on 52 minutes when a catch and drive ended with Marcos Ayerza touching down and Goode converted. Goode was yellow carded with 13 minutes left following a high tackle.