Match Report

Northampton Saints - 20

Newcastle Falcons - 0

Saturday 19th Nov 2022

A roller-coaster of a first half saw the Falcons going 21-0 down before battling back to 21-1 at the interval.

The Falcons were battling right from the start, with Guy Pepper sin-binned for side entry at a ruck in front of his own posts following an Ethan Grayson line-break.

The visitors took maximum points from the ensuing penalty by opting for a five-metre scrum, Geordie Irvine grounding the ball for former Falcon Joel Matavesi to add the simple conversion.

The visitors doubled their lead on 10 minutes when they kicked a penalty to the left corner, lock-forward Brandon Nansen scoring from a back peel as he ploughed through the home tacklers, Matavesi again converting.

Try number three came just before the quarter-mark when a line-break from Tom Collins fed Courtnall Skosan – the South African wing cutting inside from the left to dot down between the posts.

Newcastle eventually got themselves off the mark prior to the half-hour mark, solid carries from Freddie Lockwood and Mark Tampin earning them field position and a penalty 22 metres out, which was kicked to the left corner for Jamie Blamire to be driven over.

Tian Schoeman slotted the conversion, and his side reduced the gap to seven on 35 minutes when Zach Kerr rounded off a fabulous team try in the left corner.

The move had been started around halfway when Ewan Greenlaw put Freddie Lockwood through a hole, the supporting Pepper playing in Jamie Blamire who got to within an inch of the line. The ball was quickly whipped left from the ruck for the onrushing Kerr to score, Schoeman adding the touchline conversion.

There was still time for one last try before the break, Newcastle earning a line-out in the right corner and crossing for a third try from a close-range pick and go – Guy Pepper the man to ground the ball amid a heap of bodies.

Schoeman’s conversion tied the teams up at 21-21, both teams beginning the second half with gusto.

The Falcons went close when Greenlaw’s looping pass freed Nathan Earle for a run down the left wing, but it was the visitors who registered the four-try bonus point when ex-Newcastle hooker Robbie Smith collected an inside pop to dot down between the posts.

Matavesi’s conversion put his side seven points up, and the fly-half took that up to double figures when he drilled over a penalty from just inside the home half.

Home debutant Vereimi Qorowale raced 80 metres down the right wing to reduce the gap to three points, Welsh fly-half Josh Thomas adding the conversion, but it proved to be the last scoring play in a highly entertaining game.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Alex Tait (captain, Vereimi Qorowale, 65), 14 Iwan Stephens, 13 Zach Kerr, 12 Ewan Greenlaw, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Tian Schoeman (Josh Thomas, 51), 9 Josh Barton (Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 54); 1 Conrad Cade (Mark Dormer, 67), 2 Jamie Blamire (Charlie Maddison, 54), 3 Mark Tampin (Richard Palframan, 57), 4 Jamie Berrisford, 5 Sebastian de Chaves (Rory Ward, 51), 6 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Guy Pepper (Marcus Tiffen, 51), 8 Tom Marshall.

**Scorers -** Tries: Jamie Blamire, Zach Kerr, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale. Conversions: Tian Schoeman 3, Josh Thomas.

**Northampton Saints:** 15 James Ramm, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Ethan Grayson, 12 Tom Litchfield, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Joel Matavesi, 9 Callum Braley (captain); 1 Ethan Waller , 2 Robbie Smith, 3 Ehren Painter, 4 Brandon Nansen, 5 Tom Lockett, 6 Kayde Sylvester, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 8 Geordie Irvine.

**Scorers -** Tries: Geordie Irvine, Brandon Nansen, Courtnall Skosan, Robbie Smith. Conversions: Joel Matavesi 4. Penalties: Joel Matavesi.

**Referee:** Dan Jones. **Attendance:** 2,231.