Former Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby coach Peter Russell's unbeaten record as head coach of England Championship club Newcastle Falcons had its closest call at the weekend when the side needed a last-second try and conversion to beat third-placed Bedford 17-15.
It was the Falcons' 25th win in 25 games this Northern Hemisphere season, including 18 in The Championship, six in British and Irish Cup pool play, and one against the touring Tongans.
With a 34-22 win over Rotherham the previous week, the Falcons had already secured the No 1 Championship grade playoffs seeding with five matches to play in the 12-team, home-and-away round-robin preliminaries.
With another four points from the weekend, they are now 26 points clear at the top of the Championship, targeting promotion back to the Premiership, from which the club was relegated in May last year.
They are also fashioning a rare modern-day rugby defensive record, a try by Rotherham having been the first against them in six games since January 1, and the tryline remained intact at the weekend, meaning just three tries have been scored against the Falcons in 11 matches since the end of November.