Match Report

- - 21

Newcastle Falcons -

Saturday 24th Oct 2015

Newcastle Falcons showed guts to play a full part in the game but were ultimately left empty-handed as Northampton Saints claimed a full five Aviva Premiership points in Milton Keynes.

The early signs looked ominous as Northampton racked up 13 points in as many minutes, but the Falcons battled their way back into the game.

Christian Day’s try from a rolling maul five minutes in rewarded the Saints’ decision to hit a kickable penalty into touch, back-ball being converted into seven points when Stephen Myler slotted the extras from the right.

The fly-half sent a further two penalties between the uprights as his side looked to be in total control, but a dogged Falcons outfit grafted away for an in-road.

Scotland tight-head Jon Welsh helped anchor a solid Newcastle scrum on his club debut, Nili Latu scrapping away at the breakdown as the Tonga captain introduced himself to the Aviva Premiership.

Italy wing Giovanbattista Venditti was solid under the high ball and showed up well on the counter-attack, full-back Simon Hammersley at the heart of much of the visitors’ good work.

His line-break helped generate the spell of pressure which delivered their first points of the game, Mike Delany chipping over a penalty from just inside the 22.

Alesana Tuilagi’s appetite for work and the continued game-breaking runs of Adam Powell ensured Newcastle remained in the home half, Powell’s burst almost handing Venditti a try in the left corner.

A scrum win against the head and another Tuilagi charge gave Delany a second straightforward penalty on 25 minutes, the Kiwi adding a third when the hosts failed to roll away after Latu’s midfield surge

Northampton ensured a 16-9 half-time lead when Myler drilled a third penalty of his own from the left-hand side, his team denied prime field possession when limpet-like ruck work from Latu forced a penalty in the Falcons’ favour.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men when a succession of penalties inside their own 22 saw Todd Clever sin-binned for his part in illegally stopping a rolling maul, the Falcons absorbing a barrage on their try-line before Ben Foden knocked on at the crucial time.

It was only a temporary reprieve, Northampton’s once again turning to their mauling game and earnng a second try on 55 minutes when Day was driven over for his second try of the afternoon.

Myler’s conversion extended the gap to 14, his side making good use of the extra man when Luther Burrell sniped over from a close-range ruck in the left corner after Jamie Gibson had been stopped just short of the line.

The introduction of Mouritz Botha on the hour mark helped Newcastle up the physicality as the Saints sniffed around in search of a four-try bonus point, both sides turning to their benches in numbers.

Northampton had the crucial score on 65 minutes when the video referee rules Foden to have grounded in the left corner, but the visitors wasted no time in hitting back.

Tom Penny had been on the field less than five seconds before he sped down the right-hand side to score, ensuring Chris Harris’ line-break and pass were rewarded.

Foden had the taste for the try-line, sliding in for his second in quick succession as a scrum-five in the right corner was worked to the opposite side.

It was to be their last score as super scramble from Tuilagi prevented Ken Pisi scoring at the death, the Falcons now fully focused on next Sunday’s visit of Exeter Chiefs to Kingston Park.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS: S Hammersley, G Venditti (T Penny, 66), C Harris, A Powell, Al Tuilagi, M Delany (T Catterick, 63), R Tipuna (R Dawson, 74); R Vickers (E Fry, 65), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 58), J Welsh, C Green (M Botha, 58), J Furno, T Clever (W Welch, 62), N Latu, A Hogg (captain).

Sin-bin: T Clever (51).

Falcons scorers – Tries: T Penny. Conversions: T Catterick. Penalties: M Delany 3.

NORTHAMPTON SAINTS: B Foden, K Pisi, G Pisi (JJ Hanrahan, 31), L Burrell (A Tuala, 72), J Elliott, S Myler, L Dickson (captain, K Fotuali’i, 58); A Waller (E Waller, 63), D Hartley (M Haywood, 58), K Brookes (P Hill, 58), C Lawes, C Day (M Paterson, 58), J Gibson, T Wood, S Dickinson (J Fisher, 63).

Saints scorers – Tries: C Day 2, L Burrell, B Foden 2. Conversions: S Myler 4. Penalties: S Myler 3.

Referee: D Richards. Attendance: 20,034.