Falcons relegated after defeat to Gloucester
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Newcastle Falcons will play their rugby in the Championship next season after a 28-19 bonus-point win for Gloucester at Kingston Park sealed their relegation fate.
Meanwhile, Alex Lewington and Dominic Morris scored two tries each as Saracens kept their hopes of finishing top of the Premiership table alive by convincingly beating Exeter Chiefs 38-7.
Two tries from Taqele Naiyaravoro saw Northampton Saints’ go temporarily back to fourth as they surged to 38-10 victory over Worcester Warriors.
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) May 4, 2019
Gloucester 28-19 Newcastle Falcons
Dean Richards’ men started strongly with a brilliant try for Micky Young but were pegged back by Jason Woodward and Danny Cipriani before Sinoti Sinoti cut the gap – Charlie Sharples also getting over in the first half.
Newcastle gave it their all after the break and got a third through youngster Jamie Blamire but Matt Banahan’s intercept try was the nail in the coffin, making certain of five points for Gloucester.
With Newcastle knowing a big performance was needed they duly started exceptionally well, with one of the tries of the season as Alex Dunbar and Johnny Williams broke from their own 22 and Young applied the finish.
But Gloucester weren’t to be down for long and got back into things with an attacking scrum that saw Cipriani put Woodward into a huge gap for a simple finish.
Falcons went ahead again as Sinoti finished at the back of a maul but Gloucester fired back as Cipriani found the gap himself this time, before Sharples skated over into the corner.
Newcastle came out charged up after the break and made their pressure tell on 57 minutes as academy player Blamire got over on his first Premiership appearance.
A fourth try beckoned but a slightly-delayed pass gave Banahan the opportunity to intercept on his own 22 and race in to the line, with Billy Twelvetrees converting on 63 minutes and Newcastle unable to find a way back.
Tries: Woodward, Cipriani, Sharples, Banahan
Cons: Twelvetrees 4
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Young, Sinoti, Blamire
Cons: Flood 2
Yellow cards: Toby Flood (Falcons, 21); Calum Green (Falcons, 31); Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester, 48)
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Ben Morgan (captain), 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Lewis Ludlow, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Henry Purdy.
Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood (captain), 9 Michael Young, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Callum Chick, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Will Witty, 20 Jamie Blamire, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 George Wacokecoke.
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace & Simon McConnell.
TMO: Keith Lewis
Saracens 38-7 Exeter Chiefs
Alex Lewington’s first try, aided by the gale-force winds at Allianz Park, was the only score in a quiet first half but the game soon came to life.
Lewington added his second just two minutes after the break thanks to a superb run from Max Malins, before Nick Tomkins benefited from a Will Skelton charge through the heart of Exeter’s defence.
The visitors responded through a Richard Capstick try but Saracens scored twice more through replacement Dominic Morris to secure the bonus point and close the gap between them and Exeter to just four points.
Victory for Exeter would have secured top spot heading into the Premiership semifinals but they struggled to break down Saracens’ defence.
However, the hosts needed lady luck on their side to break the deadlock. With Exeter pressing hard inside Saracens’ 22, Vincent Koch stripped the ball from the visitors, Richard Wigglesworth booted it forward and the wind held it up perfectly for the charging Lewington to collect and score.
If that score was more about luck than judgement, then the second was the complete opposite with Malins snaking through the Chiefs’ defence on the right-hand side before feeding wing Lewington to stroll under the posts.
Exeter struggled to adapt to Saracens’ increased second-half tempo and the third followed minutes later when lock Skelton set off on a thrilling run, knocking Chiefs’ defenders sideways before teeing up Tomkins to score.
Exeter had scored a try in their previous 72 Premiership matches and they did not disappoint here, with a typical multi-phase move inside the ten-metre line finished by flank Capstick on debut.
But Saracens had the last laugh, with Morris scoring his first Premiership try by evading Gareth Steenson before intercepting a loose Chiefs pass to race away for his second.
Tries: Lewington 2, Tompkins, Morris 2
Cons: Malins, Bosch 2, Whiteley 2
For Exeter Chiefs:
Yellow cards: Will Skelton (Saracens, 18); Chris Judge (Saracens, 80)
Saracens: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Alex Lewington 10 Max Malins, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Dom Day, 20 Sean, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Manu Vunipola, 23 Dom Morris.
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Alex Cuthbert, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Tom Lawday, 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Josh Caulfield, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Toby Salmon, 20 Onehunga Kaufusi, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Tom Hendrickson.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Robert Warburton & Jonathan Healy.
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Northampton Saints 38-10 Worcester Warriors
Luther Burrell’s early score was added to by Taqele Naiyaravoro twice in quick succession, before Tom Wood and Reece Marshall crashed over either side of half-time for the bonus-point win.
Worcester managed a great try through Ben Te’o before the break but it was a fantastic final game at Franklin’s Gardens for the hosts.
After leading the teams out on his final appearance at Franklin’s Gardens, Burrell got the party started with a trademark try, breaking through the defence and stepping Chris Pennell to dot down.
Then it was the Naiyaravoro show, with the big winger powering over twice in eight minutes as the Warriors defence struggled to contain him.
Wood was next on the score sheet after a cheeky dummy created a space close to the line and the second row crashed over for the bonus-point try half an hour in, Dan Biggar converting all four.
Warriors did respond just before the break to keep the game alive, with Jono Lance brilliantly picking up a loose ball and offloading to Te’o for a simple score.
Duncan Weir added the conversion, his second successful kick following an earlier penalty, to make it 28-10 at the break.
Saints extended their lead shortly into the second half, firstly through a Biggar penalty before Marshall muscled over from a driving-maul line-out.
Biggar converted and it was plain sailing for Saints as they held on for an impressive win leaving them in the semi-final spot with Bath and Wasps to play out a crucial fixture on Sunday.
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Burrell, Naiyaravoro 2, Wood, Marshall
Cons: Biggar 4
For Worcester Warriors:
Yellow card: Francois Hougaard (Warriors, 24)
Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Reece Marshall, 1 Alex Waller (captain).
Replacements: 16 Samson Ma’asi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Ken Pisi.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze (captain), 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Callum Black, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Michael Fatialofa 20 Andrew Kitchener, 21 Ted Hill, 22 Michael Heaney, 23 Jono Lance.
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee & Philip Watters.
TMO: Claire Hodnett