Sarries, Saints win big in try fests
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Saracens returned to winning ways with a bonus point 29-23 win over 14-man Newcastle Falcons at the StoneX Stadium in the Premiership while Saints beat top-four rivals Gloucester in 12-try game fest.
Saracens raced into the lead within the first minute when loosehead prop Eroni Mawi bundled over but Alex Goode endured a difficult afternoon from the kicking tee and could not convert.
Falcons got themselves straight back into the game however, with Brett Connon knocking over a penalty, before Philip van der Walt squeezed the ball over the line to extend the away side’s lead to 10-5.
Falcons’ fight took a significant backward step though when Greg Peterson was sent off after just 17 minutes for a head-on-head tackle on Theo Dan, and Saracens made instant use of their man advantage through an Alex Lewington double.
That lead was only 15-13 after 26 minutes when Connon added his second penalty, with Goode’s struggles from the tee continuing.
Mark McCall’s men were not done there though and secured the bonus point when Ivan van Zyl crossed, before hooker Dan put them into a healthy 29-13 half-time lead.
In a tight second half, it was surprisingly the Falcons who scored the only try, when speedster Adam Radwan darted into the far corner to put them in touching distance.
And they left north London with a bonus point when Connon scored a penalty two minutes into stoppage time.
Northampton Saints continued their excellent recent form with a 41-34 bonus point win over fellow semi-final chasing Gloucester Rugby at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.
A tight second half saw the sides head in 10-10 at half-time with Seb Blake scoring twice for the Cherry & Whites and a combination of Alex Waller’s try and the boot of James Grayson keeping the scores level.
In the second half however, Saints were at their very best, initially trading another score with the visitors, as Callum Braley and Ollie Thorley continued the ding-dong approach to the game, before flexing their attacking muscles.
Three tries in eight minutes, including Alex Moon’s first-ever Premiership Rugby score, before Sam Graham and Tommy Freeman put Saints into a suddenly comfortable 34-15 lead after 58 minutes.
That lead was extended further when Fraser Dingwall finished off a sublime team try to crash over for Saints’ sixth of the afternoon, and with just 12 minutes on the clock, led 41-15.
The Cherry and Whites needed just one score to take a try bonus point of their own, but incredibly they found momentum of their own, scoring three tries in six minutes through a Jamal Ford-Robinson brace and Matias Alemanno’s try to walk away with two bonus points and leave Northampton with their heads held high.
And in the match between Leicester Tigers and London Irish, a 74th minute penalty from Handre Pollard helped the Tigers to a 25-22 win over London Irish in Brentford.
This helped Leicester Tigers to move up to fifth in the Premiership table.
Tigers’ first win away from home in five league games catapulted them from eighth and above Irish, who had lost just one of their previous six league games to rise as high as fourth in the table last week.
Saracens 29-23 Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Mawi, Lewington 2, Van Zyl, Dan
Cons: Goode 2
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Van der Walt, Radwan
Cons: Connon 2
Pens: Connon 3
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode (captain) 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Olly Hartley, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Andy Christie, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Tom Ellis, 3 Alec Clarey, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Eroni Mawi.
Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Cameron Boon, 20 Toby Knight, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Josh Hallett, 23 Sean Maitland.
Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Callum Chick, 7 Gary Graham, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Fletcher, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Freddie Lockwood, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Pete Lucock.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: George Selwood, Phil Watters
TMO: Tom Foley
Northampton Saints 41-34 Gloucester
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Waller, Braley, Moon, Graham, Freeman, Dingwall
Cons: Grayson 4
For Gloucester :
Tries: Blake 2, Thorley, Ford-Robinson 2, Alemanno
Cons: Twelvetrees 2
Northampton: 15 James Ramm, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Fraser Dingwall (captain), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 James Grayson, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Sam Graham, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Alex Moon, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Robbie Smith, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Alfie Petch 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Aaron Hinkley, 21 Jake Garside, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Courtnall Skosan.
Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Jonny May, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Seb Blake, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Seabrook.
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant Referees: Joe James, Peter Allan
TMO: Rowan Kitt
London Irish 22-25 Leicester Tigers
For London Irish:
Tries: Pearson, Powell, Cunningham-South
Cons: Jackson (2)
Tries: Cracknell, Wiese, Potter
Cons: Pollard (2)
Pens: Pollard (2)
London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Tom Pearson, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Tarek Haffar, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Josh Caulfield, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Hugh O’Sullivan, 23 Will Joseph.
Leicester: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Harry Potter, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Cameron Henderson, 4 George Martin, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Clare, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Emeka Ilione, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Harry Simmons.
Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant Referees: Simon Harding, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Dean Richards