Falcons 5 Saints 66

Friday 21 April 2023 Written by: Adam

It was an evening on which the Falcons faithful said goodbye to club legends Will Welch and Alex Tait, but there was precious else to shout about as play-off hopefuls Northampton ran in tries at regular intervals.

The home side trailed 28-5 at the break and conceded a further deluge of points after the break, but had got off to the dream start, racing into the lead just three minutes in.

Adam Radwan contorted his body to score in the right corner after a winding run from Mateo Carreras and quick hands down the short-side.

Saints bit back just four minutes later when scrum-half Alex Mitchell sniped between the posts for a converted try and a two-point lead, and they doubled their total when Tom Collins intercepted on his own 22 and won a race to the left corner.

Smith again converted, and his side maintained their nine-point advantage when Newcastle kicked a penalty to the left corner without return – knocking the ball on in phase play.

Carreras was a fingernail away from a wonder try when the Argentina wing raced 80 metres from a Matias Moroni turnover, chipping ahead and just failing to ground the bouncing ball.

Northampton were having no such worries converting their chances into points – Collins awarded his second try by the video ref after just staying infield from a break towards the left corner.

The video was less kind to Newcastle when Radwan’s claims on a second try were turned down, the winger scorching a path to the right corner post but fractionally rolling into touch under the attentions of Mitchell.

Northampton grabbed the four-try bonus point with the final play of the half, Juarno Augustus powering over in the left corner as they took a 28-5 lead with them into the changing rooms.

The size of Newcastle’s mountain increased five minutes after the resumption when prop Paul Hill scored down the right after a Sam Matavesi break, and they missed out on the chance to reply when they kicked a penalty to the corner and lost the resulting line-out.

The Falcons were reduced to 14 men when Carreras was sin-binned for a no-arms clear-out, and the visitors took immediate advantage when Smith ghosted through the midfield defence for his side’s sixth converted try.

There was further pain when Mitchell crossed for his second try just before the hour mark on a supporting line from a Collins break, and he was quickly followed by Sam Graham and Tommy Freeman with the floodgates well and truly open.

David Ribbans took them past the 60 mark when the England lock wriggled over from close range -the final act of a tough night’s work for the Falcons.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo (Alex Tait, 63), 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon (Pete Lucock, 71), 9 Michael Young (captain, Sam Stuart, 57); 1 Logovi’i Mulipola (Adam Brocklebank, 46), 2 Jamie Blamire (Conrad Cade, 73), 3 Mark Tampin (Conor Kenny, 57), 4 Greg Peterson (Philip van der Walt, 53), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo (Carl Fearns, 57), 7 Freddie Lockwood, 8 Callum Chick.

**Scorers –** Tries: Adam Radwan.

**Northampton Saints:** 15 George Furbank, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Fraser Dingwall (Tom Litchfield, 61), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell (Tom James, 71); 1 Alex Waller, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Paul Hill (Ed Prowse, 68), 4 David Ribbans, 5 Alex Moon, 6 Courtney Lawes (Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 59), 7 Lewis Ludlam (captain, Angus Scott-Young, 61), 8 Juarno Augustus (Sam Graham, 48).

**Scorers –** Tries: Alex Mitchell 2, Tom Collins 2, Juarno Augustus, Paul Hill, Fin Smith, Sam Graham, Tommy Freeman, David Ribbans. Conversions: Fin Smith 8.

**Referee:** Wayne Barnes. **Attendance:** 6,847.