Falcons snatch dramatic win against Saints
It was a fifth successive Premiership defeat for Jim Mallinder’s men, who had looked set to win it after Dylan Hartley popped up with a second-half score.
Meanwhile, South African centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg scored his first try for Sale Sharks as they overcame Byron McGuigan's sending-off to beat Worcester Warriors 18-14 and record their first Premiership away win since February.
Northampton Saints 22-24 Newcastle Falcons
Hartley’s effort, added to Harry Mallinder’s score, a penalty try and five points from the boot of Piers Francis, put Northampton 22-17 up with 10 minutes to go.
But Latu and Takulua combined to secure the win, adding to earlier tries from Sinoti Sinoti and Josh Matavesi and two conversions from Toby Flood, who was sin-binned during the first half.
Northampton thought they had scored after just 13 seconds, but Rob Horne’s effort was ruled out as a knock-on by Ben Foden was spotted by the TMO.
Mallinder eventually found enough space to dummy intelligently and race in for the score.
James Grayson missed the conversion and Newcastle soon responded as Sinoti wriggled over for a try.
Flood converted to put the Falcons 7-5 up with 25 minutes gone and the visitors were soon flying forward again, with Sinoti setting up Matavesi for a fine score.
The Falcons flyhalf added the extras but he was to be sin-binned before the break, for collapsing a maul as the Saints were awarded a penalty try.
The home side thought they had scored again soon after, but the TMO deemed that Hartley hadn’t managed to score.
Newcastle led 14-12 at half-time and that was extended when Flood landed a penalty 10 minutes into the second period.
Captain Hartley grabbing a key try for his team and Francis landed the conversion to put the home side 19-17 up
Northampton were denied by the TMO again as a Nic Groom knock-on was spotted at the breakdown, meaning Ahsee Tuala’s effort was ruled out.
Francis slotted a penalty to ease the nerves further, but Newcastle had the final say as Latu powered over and Takulua converted to win it.
Tries: Mallinder, Penalty try, Hartley
Tries: Sinoti, Matavesi, Latu
Cons: Flood 2, Takulua
Yellow Card: Flood (Newcastle Falcons, 33)
Northampton Saints: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Juan Pablo Estelles, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Ben Foden, 10 James Grayson, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Ahsee Tuala
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Will Welch (captain), 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Sami Mavinga, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Will Witty, 20 Nili Latu, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Alex Tait
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley, Simon McConnell
TMO: David Grashoff
Worcester Warriors 14-18 Sale Sharks
Mark Jennings’ late try was enough to end Worcester Warriors’ two-game winning run. The replacement crashed over with just ten minutes to play, allowing his side to hold on for their own second straight victory after Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s first-half score.
Nine of Worcester’s 14 points came from Chris Pennell’s boot with the rest coming from a Josh Adams try, though Warriors missed out on three straight wins for the first time since March 2016.
The first points of the game came after Ryan Mills was penalised for holding onto the ball which left AJ MacGinty with an easy kick for three points.
Sale extended their lead soon after as scrumhalf Faf de Klerk found van Rensburg to touch down.
Worcester bounced back 12 minutes later as, following a penalty for going around the side, Pennell scored the home side’s first points.
And the home side kept pushing as Sale’s Byron McGuigan received a yellow for appearing in an offside position when trying to intercept the ball.
Worcester quickly made the man advantage count too, as a fantastic grubber-kick saw Adams wade his way through the Sale defence to score the hosts’ first try.
McGuigan’s red card for a tip-tackle further hampered the visitors, with Pennell twice kicking three points for his side – the latter putting them into the lead.
But despite the numerical inferiority, Sale came back from the brink with replacement Jennings going over, securing their first away in Premiership Rugby since October 2016.
Pens: Pennell 3
Tries: Janse van Rensburg, Jennings
Pens: MacGinty 2
Yellow Cards: De Klerk (Sale Sharks, 50), McGuigan (Sale Sharks, 30)
Red Card: McGuigan (Sale Sharks, 65)
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 David Denton, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Will Spencer, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan (captain), 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Joe Taufete’e, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Pierce Phillips, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Dean Hammond
Sale Sharks: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 George Nott, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Will Cliff 22 Mark Jennings, 23 Mike Haley
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Graham Hughes