Newcastle Falcons - 12
Saracens - 50
Newcastle Falcons’ wait for a first win of the Gallagher Premiership season continues after champions Saracens took the full five points from Sunday’s visit to Kingston Park.
The hosts trailed 28-7 at half-time but began the game brightly, leading after five minutes in front of 6,124 supporters.
Brett Connon’s well-judged 50-22 earned a line-out in the left corner from, which they ultimately scored.
Sebastian de Chaves was the man to dot down, with the lock-forward powering over from a close-range pick and go down the right after play was worked infield.
Jackal penalty wins from Iwan Stephens and Jamie Blamire reinforced the Falcons’ early dominance, but they were reduced to 14 men on as many minutes when former Saracen Elliott Obatoyinbo was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on in his own 22.
The Londoners were quick to make the extra man count, kicking the penalty to the left corner and drawing level when England hooker Theo Dan was driven over for a converted try at the resulting maul.
Sarries took the lead on 27 minutes when forward pressure and a lineout in the left corner saw play worked infield, with England full-back Elliot Daly hitting an outside arc to score down the right-hand side.
Alex Lozowski added the conversion, and he did so again on 34 minutes when Alex Lewington scored in the left corner – play once again being worked wide after the hosts halted Sarries’ maul.
The champions earned their four-try bonus point with the final play of the half when midfield offside saw a penalty kicked to the corner – Dan once again the scorer from an advancing maul.
Lozowski’s conversion extended their half-time lead to 28-7, and the former England internal added three to that margin in the early moments of the second half when he sent over a simple penalty from in front of the posts.
Newcastle kept plugging away and skipper Callum Chick got them into the Saracens’ red zone with a well-executed 50-22 from turnover ball, but they could not make the field position count as the ball was knocked on in contact from the resulting passage of play.
The hosts were more clinical on 53 minutes when repeated penalties in the visitors’ 22 saw replacement hooker Bryan Byrne driven over at the back of a maul in the right corner for an unconverted try.
Tom Willis restored the champions’ ascendancy when he crossed for their fifth try in the right corner in support of a break from Daly, but they were reduced to 14 men when Ollie Stonham was sin-binned for a high tackle on Ben Stevenson.
It did not affect their clinical attacking play, with Argentina flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez scoring a converted try between the posts having collected an offload five metres out from scrum-half Gareth Simpson.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando (Ben Stevenson, 58), 12 Rory Jennings (Cameron Hutchison,58), 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan (Sam Stuart,53); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Philip van der Walt, 47), 2 Jamie Blamire (Bryan Byrne, 44), 3 Eduardo Bello (Murray McCallum, 73), 4 Pedro Rubiolo (John Hawkins, 62), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Freddie Lockwood (Philip van der Walt, 47), 7 Sam Cross, 8 Callum Chick (captain).
Scorers – Tries: Sebastian de Chaves, Bryan Byrne. Conversions: Brett Connon.
Saracens: 15 Elliot Daly (Lucio Cinti, 49), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski (Manu Vunipola, 63), 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Alex Goode (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl (Gareth Simpson, 61); 1 Eroni Mawi (Tom West, 49), 2 Theo Dan, 3 Alec Clarey (Christian Judge, 55), 4 Ollie Stonham, 5 Hugh Tizard (Billy Vunipola, 53), 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Andy Christie, 8 Tom Willis.
Scorers – Tries: Theo Dan 2, Elliot Daly, Alex Lewington, Tom Willis, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Manu Vunipola. Conversions: Alex Lozowski 4, Alex Goode 2. Penalties: Alex Lozowski.
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe. Attendance: 6,124.