Five-try Saints smash Newcastle

Saints saw off Newcastle at stadium:mk (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Saints saw off Newcastle at stadium:mk (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

It was a fantastic five for Saints at stadium:mk as they smashed Newcastle Falcons 42-16 on Saturday afternoon.

Christian Day and Ben Foden both helped themselves to doubles, with Luther Burrell also registering and Stephen Myler kicking 17 points.

It was a stirring response from Jim Mallinder’s, who had suffered opening-night disappointment in a 13-12 defeat at Worcester Warriors eight days earlier.

And it got Saints back on track ahead of a tricky set of fixtures, with next week’s trip to Sale Sharks followed by a game against Saracens and back-to-back Champions Cup matches.

Newcastle did put up a fight, especially during the first half, but Saints were eventually too strong, scoring four times during the second period.

With Franklin’s Gardens not available until the clash with Sarries on November 7, Mallinder’s men made Milton Keynes home once again, turning on the style in front of 20,000 fans.

The home side were to start well, turning to the lineout drive to put pressure on the Falcons pack.

And it was to pay off just five minutes in, as lock Day used a huge shove to score his side’s first try of the new season.

Myler added the extras and he was soon bisecting the posts with a penalty as Saints continued to keep the Falcons on their toes.

The away side were really struggling to get into the game, with their sloppy start accentuated by scrum-half Ruki Tipuna kicking out on the full.

Saints used the territory to earn another penalty, and Myler made no mistake from in front of the posts.

The Falcons did manage to get some points on the board with 15 minutes gone, as Simon Hammersley’s break forced Saints to infringe, and Delany slotted the penalty.

Newcastle were starting to find their feet and they had a great chance to score when Adam Powell broke the line, but the centre’s pass just eluded Giovanbattista Venditti.

The Falcons did add more points to their tally when Alesana Tuilagi won a penalty in front of the posts and Delany kicked it.

Saints were now the ones on the back foot and they were to suffer an injury blow as George Pisi was forced off after a hefty collision.

JJ Hanrahan came on in his place, but he couldn’t alter the direction of the traffic as Falcons continued to drive forward with menace.

Tipuna’s offloads were causing problems and another penalty saw Delany reduce the deficit to four points.

Saints needed a shot in the arm, and Myler provided it, with a well-struck long-range penalty a minute before the break.

But the home side’s eagerness to kick rather than keep the ball in hand was failing to pay any real dividends, keeping the Falcons in the game early in the second half.

The maul was working though, and Newcastle were struggling to cope, with flanker Todd Clever paying the price in the form of a yellow card.

Saints spurned a great chance to score soon after as Foden knocked on with the try-line beckoning.

But they didn’t have to wait too much longer to dot down as the maul again paid dividends, with Day grabbing his second try of the game.

Myler converted to stretch the lead to 14 points and, with Clever still in the bin, the Falcons were really up against it.

And they soon cracked again as, after Day nearly grabbed his hat-trick on the right, Burrell popped up on the left to burrow over.

Myler missed the conversion, but Saints were now in sight of the bonus point, and Foden was the man to get it as he powered over with 15 minutes to go.

Myler’s conversion added extra gloss, but the Falcons responded with a try of their own, Tom Penny making the most of a slick move to glide in unopposed.

Tom Catterick converted before Michael Paterson, on for Day, was stopped just short at the other end.

Saints were to score again though, as Foden saw a gap and accelerated through it to make it a personal Milton Keynes double.

And that was to be that as Mallinder’s men celebrated a comfortable victory at their temporary abode.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi (Hanrahan 32), Burrell (Tuala 73), Elliott; Myler, Dickson (Fotuali’i 60); A Waller (E Waller 63), Hartley (Haywood 59), Brookes (Hill 59); Lawes, Day (Paterson 59); Gibson, Wood, Dickinson (Fisher 63).

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Venditti (Penny 66), Harris, Powell, Tuilagi, Delany (Catterick 63), Tipuna (Dawson 73); Vickers (Fry 66), Lawson (McGuigan 60), Welsh; Green (Botha 60), Furno; Clever, Latu, Hogg.

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 20,034