Feb 28, 2015
Saracens get back to winning ways
Saracens moved up to second place in the Aviva Premiership after a hard fought 22-17 win over a committed and resolute Newcastle Falcons side at Allianz Park.
The Falcons made Saracens work for every point, with returning duo Adam Powell and Andy Saull both impressing against their former employers. A David Strettle expert finish was Saracens only try on the game, with substitute scrum half Ben Spencer kicking nine points in a superb personal display from off the bench.
Saracens young lock forward Maro Itoje was a colossus for the home side, with the 20 year old producing a performance that underlined his undoubted credentials as a star for the future.
In an entertaining first forty minutes, Saracens lead Newcastle Falcons 13-10 at the break.
Former Saracens player Andy Saul put the Falcons ahead, bundling down after a catch and drive from a five metre lineout.
Saracens responded to the early Newcastle pressure with a Hodgson penalty and a classy finish from hot stepper David Strettle in the corner put Saracens ahead. Hodgson added a difficult conversion.
Newcastle evened up the scores when Scott Lawson offloaded and Tuilagi rampaged down the wing to dot down. Catterick failed to convert.
Hodgson nailed another penalty through the posts on the 30 minute mark to give Saracens a narrow lead.
Maro Itoje’s bosh on would-be tackler Tom Catterick epitomised the physical contest in the first 40 minutes.
Injuries to Neil de Kock and Charlie Hodgson, means Saracens will play the rest of the game with a half back pairing of Ben Spencer and Nils Mordt.
Newcastle's decision to kick for the corner instead of going for goal was rewarded in the 45th minute, with Welch touching down following the driving maul. Catterick squeezed the kick through the posts.
Saracens responded with some pressure of their own, but couldn't manage to break through the Newcastle lines, as the opposition camped on their five metre line.
Ben Spencer reduced the deficit to one point, after a long range penalty clipped the inside of the post on its way over.
A few minutes later Spencer gave Saracens the lead, knocking over another outstanding penalty from way over by the left hand touch line.
With the nerves starting to creep in, Spencer added another well taken penalty to ease the anxiety building in the Stadium as Saracens expertly closed out the game to win 22-17.
Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Chris Wyles, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson(rep Mordt 34 mins); 9 Neil de Kock (Spencer 34); 1 Rhys Gill (Barrington 49), 2 Jamie George, 3 Petrus Du Plessis (Figallo 49); 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 6 Nick De Jager (Hamilton 49); 7 Jacques Burger, 8 Jackson Wray.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Matt Hankin, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Tim Streather.
Penalties Hodgson x 2; Spencer x 3
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Mike Blair. (Tipuna 61); 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 4 Kane Thompson (Green 63); 5 Dom Barrow, 6 Will Welch (c), 7 Andy Saull, 8 Mark Wilson.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Mark Irving, 19 Calum Green, 20 Chris York, 21 Ruki Tipuna, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Thomas Penny.
Tries Saull; Tuilagi; Welch.