WORCESTER Warriors are just 80 minutes away from a place in the Heineken Cup after blowing away Newcastle Falcons 31-16 in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup at Sixways.

Sam Tuitupou ran in a brace of tries, while the impressive Marcel Garvey and replacement Tom Wood also crossed the whitewash as Mike Ruddock's men galloped past the struggling Falcons, who lacked cohesion throughout.

Newcastle rallied late on with a try from Brent Wilson, while England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson added 11 points, but it was the hosts who thoroughly deserved their place in the final where the will face either Bath or Sale.

Newcastle bossed the early exchanges and took the lead when right-wing Tom May opted to put three points on the board with a drop-goal on seven minutes.

However, two minutes later, Dale Rasmussen put in a huge hit on Jamie Noon, causing the England centre to spill the ball. Warriors wing Garvey gathered and sped away from the defence to score under the posts. Drahm added the conversion to give Worcester the lead.

Scrum-half Matt Powell then showed a great turn of pace to get to his chip-and-chase kick but, after consultation with the video ref, the score was ruled out.

After a fine run into the Newcastle 22, Garvey turned provider, cleverly chipping inside for the on-rushing Tuitupou to dive on the ball in the in-goal area. Drahm split the posts.

Noon limped off to be replaced by Tim Visser on the half-hour mark, but the Warriors' defence held firm as Newcastle searched for a way back into the game. Wilkinson clawed back three points for the Falcons two minutes before the interval after Kai Hortsmann infringed.

The second-half began with Warriors second-row Greg Rawlinson on the receiving end of some illegal stamping and, via the upright, Drahm slotted from in front of the posts to stretch the hosts' lead.

Following a 10-minute delay due to floodlight failure caused by a local power-cut, play resumed with Newcastle probing around the Warriors 22. After several phases, May once again looked to drop a goal, but his effort drifted wide.

Visser broke through the line at pace on 57 minutes, stepped past full-back Thinus Delport and looked certain to score but captain Pat Sanderson came from nowhere to make a fantastic try-saving tackle. However, Warriors were guilty of slowing the ball and Wilkinson slotted the penalty to make it 17-9.

On the hour-mark, Rawlinson was sent to the sin-bin for persistently not rolling away but Warriors had a let-off as Wilkinson was, for once, off target with the resulting penalty.

Warriors dragged the Newcastle defence from one side of the pitch to the other in the visitors' 22 and the pressure eventually told as replacement flanker Tom Wood crashed over for the hosts' third score. Drahm added the extras before sending Tuitupou over for his second score with a delightful chip over the defence.

However, from the re-start, the Aussie fly-half was charged down by flanker Brent Wilson who collected the ball and touched down. Wilkinson made the conversion, but it was too little, too late for the Falcons.