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Newcastle Falcons 25 Saints 22: Saints edged out at St James’ Park

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints outscored their hosts by three tries to one at St James’ Park, but still went down to Newcastle Falcons in an historic clash in the North East.

David Ribbans, Rob Horne, and Nafi Tuitavake all crossed the whitewash for the visitors, although ultimately Saints' ill-discipline cost them as Toby Flood kicked six penalties.

Over 30,000 spectators were in attendance at the home of Newcastle United, and they were in loud voice as Saints were let off the hook just a minute into the game when a Falcons try was chalked off by the TMO.

Sinoti Sinoti raced clear but the ball was knocked on as Piers Francis was tackled to give Northampton a reprieve, however a couple of Saints offences within quick succession moved the hosts up the field, and Flood was able to put his side 3-0 up from the tee.

Saints were on the back foot but Stephan Myler’s try-saving tackle on Sinoti in the sixth minute seemed to spark them into life, with the visitors surging up the pitch via a rolling maul before flinging the ball across the park.

And it was Ribbans who collected the ball at the back of a ruck and palmed away a couple of defenders to score an excellent try.

Myler’s conversion attempt was pushed just right of the uprights, and Saints then gave away a quick penalty with Ben Nutley holding on and there was no hesitation from Flood to make it 6-5.

Falcons struck again in the 22nd minute as Vereniki Goneva scooped the ball out of the back of a ruck and raced straight through a gap to touch down under the posts, with Flood making no mistake with the conversion.

The Falcons No.10 did miss a long-range penalty shortly after however, and Saints punished the mistake as a high cross-field kick from Myler resulted in a try.

Goneva spilled the ball under pressure from George North and Horne, and the Australian pounced to hack through and touch down at the Gallowgate end – Myler this time striking his conversion straight through the posts.

Saints were then twice pinged at the breakdown either side of half-time, and Flood extended the hosts’ lead to seven points from in front of the posts.

But Northampton came to life again shortly after as a brilliant use of the short side saw them with numbers, and great hands from Campese Ma’afu released Nutley and Tuitavake finished off a quality score.

A superb conversion from Myler out wide levelled the scores, but another soft penalty for offside allowed Flood to once again put Falcons ahead before the hour mark.

Myler responded with a penalty of his own after good work from North to set up a grandstand final quarter of an hour at 22-22, but Flood struck the decisive blow from the tee – his sixth penalty of the afternoon – with ten minutes left from all of 47 metres.

And while Northampton won a late penalty which Myler sent up the field for one last lineout play, a knock-on from Saints ended the contest.

FALCONS: Hammersley, Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti, Flood, Young, Lockwood, Cooper, Davison, Green, Robinson, Olmstead, Welch (capt), Latu
Replacements: Lawson, Vickers, Wilson, Witty, Hogg, Stuart, Hodgson, Mermoz

SAINTS: Tuala, Tuitavake, Horne, Francis, North, Myler, Groom, Ma’afu, Haywood, Brookes, Ratuniyarawa, Day (capt), Ribbans, Gibson, Nutley
Replacements: Marshall, van Wyk, Ford-Robinson, Paterson, Eadie, Reinach, Mallinder, Foden

4’ FALCONS Penalty Flood 3-0
13’ SAINTS Try Ribbans 3-5
14’ FALCONS Penalty Flood 6-5
22’ FALCONS Try Goneva, Conversion Flood 13-5
36’ SAINTS Try Horne, Conversion Myler 13-12
39’ FALCONS Penalty Flood 16-12
HALF-TIME: Falcons 16 – 12 Saints
43’ FALCONS Penalty Flood 19-12
52’ SAINTS Try Tuitavake, Conversion Myler 19-19
56' FALCONS Penalty Flood 22-19
64’ SAINTS Penalty Myler 22-22
67’ FALCONS Penalty Flood 25-22
FULL-TIME: Falcons  25 – 22 Saints


Newcastle Falcons vs Northampton Saints

Match Details

FT ScoreFull Time Score

Newcastle 25-22 Saints




JP Doyle

Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle Falcons


Full Time

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints

Starting LineupNorthampton Saints


Nafi Tuitavake


Rob Horne


George North


Stephen Myler


Nic Groom


Campese Ma'afu


Kieran Brookes


Christian Day


Jamie Gibson


Ben Nutley

SubsNorthampton Saints


Jamal Ford-Robinson


Michael Paterson


Mitch Eadie


Cobus Reinach


Ben Foden

Opposition LineupNewcastle Falcons

Simon Hammersley
Vereniki Goneva
Chris Harris
Josh Matavesi
Sinoti Sinoti
Toby Flood
Micky Young
Sam Lockwood
Kyle Cooper
Trevor Davison
Calum Green
Sean Robinson
Evan Olmstead
Will Welch
Nili Latu

SubsNewcastle Falcons

Scott Lawson
Rob Vickers
Scott Wilson
Will Witty
Ally Hogg
Sam Stuart
Joel Hodgson
Maxime Mermoz

Saints make five changes for historic St James’ Park clash

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints have made five changes to their starting line-up to face Newcastle Falcons, with the match set to be played in front of a record-breaking crowd at St James’ Park.

The match, which kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday and is live on BT Sport, will be the second time these sides have met this season – with a last-minute score for Falcons the difference when they locked horns at Franklin’s Gardens.

St James’ Park becomes the Aviva Premiership’s 38th venue and Saints will be bidding to improve their recent away form in the league.

Nic Groom returns to the No.9 jersey to rekindle his half-back partnership with veteran Stephen Myler, while George North returns on the wing from international duty.

Piers Francis and Rob Horne continue in midfield, while Ahsee Tuala and Nafi Tuitavake are also retained to make up the back three.

Mikey Haywood returns from injury to line up at hooker, with Dylan Hartley out with illness after returning to the Club from international duty.

Campese Ma’afu and Kieran Brookes will pack down either side of him once again, with Christian Day returning to lead the side alongside Api Ratuniyawara in the second row.

Ben Nutley will don the No.8 jersey for Saints after impressing off the bench last time out against Bath Rugby – David Ribbans and Jamie Gibson making up the back row.

And there’s room for Harry Mallinder on the bench for Northampton, with the versatile back recovering from illness to take his place amongst Saints’ replacements.

Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 18
St James’ Park
Saturday 24th March, 2018
Kick-off: 5.30pm

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Nafi Tuitavake
13 Rob Horne
12 Piers Francis
11 George North
10 Stephen Myler
9 Nic Groom

1 Campese Ma’afu
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Kieran Brookes
4 Api Ratuniyawara
5 Christian Day (capt)
6 David Ribbans
7 Jamie Gibson
8 Ben Nutley

16 Reece Marshall
17 Francois van Wyk
18 Jamal Ford-Robinson
19 Michael Paterson
20 Mitch Eadie
21 Cobus Reinach
22 Harry Mallinder
23 Ben Foden

Injury list:
Alex Waller, James Craig, Tom Wood, Luther Burrell, Heinrich Brüssow and Dylan Hartley are all unavailable for selection.

posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle FalconsNEW221408455506-5155607063
Northampton Saints
Northampton SaintsNOR228014509645-13664805643
Form Guide



Last match

Lost to Bath 24-30

Past meeting

Lost 10-18
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