Search

Gallagher Premiership Rugby: Saracens survive tough Newcastle examination to start season with a win

PUBLISHED: 17:04 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:52 02 September 2018

Saracens Will Skelton offloads to Saracens Alex Lozowski during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

Saracens Will Skelton offloads to Saracens Alex Lozowski during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Nick Tompkins went from zero to hero in the space of 12 minutes as Saracens got their Gallagher Premiership Rugby season off to a hard-fought 32-21 win at Newcastle Falcons.

Newcastle Falcons Will Welch is tackled during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PANewcastle Falcons Will Welch is tackled during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

The replacement had been sin-binned on 64 minutes but just two minutes after returning to the field he went over in the corner to end a Newcastle fightback.

An Owen Farrell penalty added gloss to the score but while some will look at that and see a comfortable victory, it was anything but.

It wasn’t until Alex Lozowski found a gap in the Falcons’ defence on 15 minutes that Saracens finally got a foothold in the game.

They were 6-0 by that point as Toby Flood landed two penalties but they

Newcastle Falcons Toby Flood offloads as he his tackled by Saracens Mike Rhodes during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PANewcastle Falcons Toby Flood offloads as he his tackled by Saracens Mike Rhodes during the Gallagher Premiership match at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

They had already pulled three points back through the boot of Owen Farrell but the hosts still looked to be on top, constantly hounding the Saracens’ defence and putting an enormous amount of pressure onto the red shirts.

But the break by the Saracens centre suddenly turned the Newcastle back line and although he was stopped, the ball was shipped right to the returning David Strettle.

And his little pass inside was superbly taken by George on his right hip and he powered over the line.

Lozowski repeated the trick right on the stroke of half-time to give Alex Lewington a debut score, punching through a massive hole and galloping away before handing over to the former London Irish man.

In between the game was punctuated by fury from the home support towards the referee.

They also saw their players continue to give Sarries precious little space and time and force the visitors back.

That was a source of frustration to the Sarries coaching staff who wanted to see their men cut loose and back themselves when an opportunity presented itself.

That would have been the message at the break but the second half was more of a war of attrition.

Saracens lost Strettle early after a nasty-looking connection with his head and the Kingston Park turf and then Will Skelton was forced off with an arm injury.

It looked as if chances would be limited with both defences on top but suddenly Falcons were through, Mark Wilson simply picking up at the back of a ruck on the 22 and waltzing unopposed straight through the middle.

Flood missed the relative straight-forwards extras and five minutes later it proved to be a crucial moment as Lewington bagged try number two out wide.

A clash between Nick Tompkins and Flood saw the Saracens man given a yellow card for leading into the tackle with his forearm but the resulting 10 minutes spell saw Saracens in defiant mood.

They flew into the Falcons with the same ferocity they had been greeted with earlier in the game and seemed to be on their way to seeing out the period.

But a break down the middle from Simon Hammersley saw Alex Goode binned for deliberately stopping play and from the kick to the corner, Wilson was driven over by a black tide.

Flood landed the penalty from out wide and it brought the gap to just one point.

It had Kingston Park rocking and dreaming of a famous comeback.

But then came Tompkins’ redeeming moment, finishing off after George had charged through.

Newcastle Falcons: Mavinga, McGuigan, Mulipola, Green, Witty, Wilson, Welch, Chick, Takulua, Flood, Radwan, Matavesi, Harris, Goneva, Hammersley.

Replacements: Socino, Brocklebank, Payne, Cavubati, Graham, Stuart, Hodgson, Tait

Tries: Wilson 56, 71

Conversions: Flood 71

Penalties: Flood 4, 9, 34

Saracens: Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Skelton, Rhodes, Earl, Wray, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Maitland, Barritt, Lozowski, Strettle, Goode.

Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Figallo, Isiekwe, Vailanu, Whiteley, Tompkins, Lewington.

Tries: George 15, Lewington 40, 61, Tompkins 76

Conversions: Farrell 15, 40, 76

Penalties: Farrell 12, 80

HT: Newcastle Falcons 9 Saracens 17

Attendance: 7,015

Referee: Ian Tempest (Wirral)

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

13:30

After losing 4-1 at Manchester United Women on November 4, Karen Hills’ team will look to bounce back this weekend

13:00

Hampstead & Westminster’s Harry Martin and Will Calnan have been named in the England squad for the Odisha World Cup in India.

Veteran manager signs up for stint on reality TV show

10:00

The latest boxing news from Camden and Haringey

Bostik Premier: Haringey Borough 4 Tonbridge Angels 0

Yesterday, 16:30

The attacker, who caused AFC Wimbledon problems on Friday night, lauded his team-mates after the 1-0 loss

Yesterday, 13:00

Wingate & Finchley will visit Chippenham Town in the third qualifying round

Yesterday, 11:30

The club have an agreement with the Football Association to use the national stadium for the remainder of the 2018/19 season

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now