Match Report

Saracens - 0

Newcastle Falcons - 11

Saturday 25th Feb 2023

Battling on with 14 men for over an hour, the visitors were 29-13 down at the break and trailed as early as the second minute when prop Eroni Mawi scored an unconverted try in the right corner – his side playing advantage from a Falcons infringement on their 22.

Brett Connon chipped three back with a penalty from out on the right following superb jackal work from fellow Carlisle native Gary Graham, and the Falcons led on 10 minutes.

That was when a period of sustained red-zone pressure saw flanker Philip van der Walt scoring from a pick-and-go in the left corner – Connon adding the touchline conversion despite the swirling North London wind.

Sarries drew level when Alex Lewington again played advantage to good effect, scoring an unconverted try in the left corner, but the Falcons’ cause was significantly hindered on 17 minutes when lock Greg Peterson was shown a straight red card for a high tackle following a lengthy TMO review.

The extra man told almost instantly, with the Londoners kicking a penalty to the corner and scoring down the left-hand side as Lewington grabbed his second unconverted try of the afternoon.

Newcastle responded with a Connon penalty from 25 metres out following a Callum Chick run, but the hosts had the four-try bonus point just after the half-hour when Ivan van Zyl scored on a supporting run from a James Christie line-break.

Goode’s conversion put his side seven ahead, and they led 29-13 at half-time when hooker Theo Dan accepted an offload from 15 metres out and raced between the posts for a converted try.

It was always a big ask for the Falcons to bridge the gap a man down, but they showed no shortage of endeavour and saved a certain try when an incredible turn of pace from Adam Radwan saw the winger chasing down a Saracens line-break.

Saracens kicked a penalty to the corner on the hour mark only for Newcastle to steal the resulting line-out, and the men in green were not throwing in the towel as a 70-metre attack saw Ben Stevenson combining with Connon and Radwan to get within a whisker of the try-line.

Radwan quickly made amends when his quick thinking delivered the visitors’ second try, the flyer taking a swift line-out to Carl Fearns, collecting the return pass and racing in from 50 metres with Connon adding the touchline conversion.

Tian Schoeman’s line-break five minutes from time threatened a bonus point for the Falcons only for a knock-on in phase play to bring the move to an end, but Connon’s last-minute penalty at least gave them a share of the spoils as they won the second half 10-0.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni (Tian Schoeman, 57), 12 Matias Orlando (Pete Lucock, 47), 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, Michael Young (captain, Sam Stuart, 67); 1 Logovi’i Mulipola (Adam Brocklebank, 48), 2 Jamie Blamire (Ollie Fletcher, 71), 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 54), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Philip van der Walt (Freddie Lockwood, 54), 7 Gary Graham (Carl Fearns, 54), 8 Callum Chick.

**Scorers -** Tries: Philip van der Walt, Adam Radwan. Conversions: Brett Connon 2. Penalties: Brett Connon 3.

**Saracens:** 15 Alex Goode (captain), 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Olly Hartley (Josh Hallett, 67), 11 Alex Lewington (Sean Maitland, 63), 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl (Aled Davies, 54); 1 Eroni Mawi (Robin Hislop, 54), 2 Theo Dan (Kapeli Pifeleti, 54), 3 Alec Clarey (Eduardo Bello, 54), 4 Tom Ellis, 5 Hugh Tizard, 6 Andy Christie, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola (Toby Knight, 77).

**Scorers -** Tries: Eroni Mawi, Alex Lewington 2, Ivan van Zyl, Theo Dan. Conversions: Alex Goode 2.

**Referee:** Craig Maxwell-Keys.