James Wilson dots down for Saints' first try © Getty Images
Rugby News SAINTS 18 FALCONS 0 Mallinder credits Falcons for frustrating Saints
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that Newcastle deserve praise for the way they defended against the Saints, despite the hosts scoring two tries in their 18-0 Aviva Premiership win.
Saints set their stall out early, kicking repeated penalties to the corner in the opening 10 minutes in search of an early breakthrough. But the Falcons put their bodies on the line time and again, stopping whatever was thrown at them, despite losing Carlo Del Fava to the sin bin.
Instead Saints had to settle for a pair of Stephen Myler penalties to give them a 6-0 lead at the break, before easing away in the third quarter as centre partners Luther Burrell and Travis Perkins man of the match James Wilson crossed in front of the Burrda Sport Stand.
“Newcastle played pretty well, I thought,” he told BT Sport. “They frustrated us and defended really well. We did have opportunities and if we’d have taken a couple of those in the first half then things might have been different, but we stopped them from scoring and won 18-0.
“We’d have loved a bonus point, but it wasn’t to be today. We had them under pressure, and at some times the referee was warning them with a high penalty count. They went down to 14 men and you want to hammer that home and get that try.
“It didn’t come, but we’re quite happy with that performance.”
Saints were missing 10 players to either injury or international call-up, and welcomed back eight more who had not played in the side over the LV= Cup period. And Mallinder acknowledged that this contributed towards an afternoon where the team just failed to reach the heights of some of their home performances this season.
“It’s always tough when you have people coming back from international games,” he added. “And we had some lads who hadn’t played for a week or two. I think that showed; we weren’t quite on our game, we weren’t as fluent as we want to be.
“But we’ve got another week now where we’ll have more players coming back, which is good for us. And we’ve got to beat Worcester next week. It’ll be tough, but we’re in a decent position.”