Super Saints back on track as they flay Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park
Saints produced a special performance on their first away-day of 2022, earning a superb bonus-point 44-8 win against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.
After going 3-0 down early on, Chris Boyd's men delivered a stirring response, flying into a 20-3 lead by half-time thanks to tries from Tom Collins and Courtnall Skosan.
And there was no sluggish second half from Saints on this occasion as they kept their foot on the gas to secure a try bonus point through efforts from Sam Matavesi, George Furbank and Tom James.
Saints also impressed in defence, giving the home side very few chances to punish them, as they powered their way to a win that has kick-started their top-four bid ahead of European action.
The black, green and gold had lost seven of their previous eight Premiership games against Falcons, and they had been under siege early on at Kingston Park.
Saints shipped a couple of penalties in their own half, but Newcastle were held up over the line before losing the ball, allowing the away side to clear.
Falcons then suffered an injury blow as centre Matias Orlando was forced off, bringing George Wacokecoke into the action.
Saints had a chance to pounce soon after as Alex Waller kicked ahead but they were penalised at the breakdown close to the home line and the opportunity was wasted.
And it was the Falcons who went ahead as Joel Hodgson landed a penalty from in front of the posts after Saints were penalised for offside.
There hadn't been much between the teams early on and that continued until Fraser Dingwall made a monstrous hit that opened the door for Saints.
Rory Hutchinson kicked the ball ahead and Collins did superbly to stay composed to finish the move.
Dan Biggar converted and Saints had their tails up, piling pressure on the Falcons to allow Biggar to slot a penalty.
Teimana Harrison and Falcons flanker Philip van der Walt were then sin-binned for a scuffle in the Saints half, and that seemed to open the game up for Saints to score again.
Matavesi produced a moment of magic as he stepped past a defender superbly before picking the perfect pass for Skosan to score Saints' second try of the day.
Biggar converted with ease to make it 17-3 and he was soon slotting a penalty after Saints smashed Newcastle with a lineout drive that had motored forward.
Falcons had struggled for ideas for much of the first half and they were finding it tough to come up with solutions against Saints' impressive linespeed.
There was one final chance to strike for the away side in the first half as a scrum penalty was earned inside the Newcastle half, but Saints couldn't find a way over and went in 20-3 ahead.
Saints emerged with plenty of determination after the break and Biggar made the most of some territory with a well-struck drop goal that stretched the lead to 20 points.
Falcons finally put together a period of pressure in Saints territory and, with a penalty coming, the home maul rumbled over the line, allowing hooker George McGuigan to score.
Hodgson missed the conversion and Saints were soon back in the Falcons half, pushing the home side back after kicking to the corner, allowing Matavesi to add a try to his first-half assist.
Biggar converted and the lead was now a healthy 22 points as Saints sought a try that would bring them the bonus point.
It didn't take long to come as Saints pieced together a superb move from inside their own half.
Tom Litchfield, on for the injured Dingwall at half-time, released Collins before the wing's kick ahead fell perfectly for Furbank to gather and score.
Biggar converted and Saints were well and truly flying as they started to ring the changes, emptying their bench with 14 minutes to go.
Falcons kept trying to respond but after Litchfield made a key try-saving tackle, the indefatigable Ludlam won a penalty at the breakdown to stop the threat.
And Saints made the most of their possession, charging forward once more as Furbank made an eye-catching break before offloading for James to score.
Furbank added the extras and Saints voices continued to ring out around Kingston Park before the ball was booted out and a fantastic away win was confirmed.
Newcastle Falcons: Brown; Carreras, Orlando (Wacokocoke 6), Burrell, Earle; Hodgson, Schreuder; Cooper (Brocklebank 52), McGuigan, Davison (Tampin 52); Peterson, Robinson; van der Walt, Welch (c), Chick (Fearns 52).
Saints: Furbank; Skosan, Dingwall (Litchfield 40), Hutchinson, Collins; Biggar (Freeman 64), Mitchell (James 64); Waller (Iyogun 64), Matavesi (Fish 66), Hill (Painter 66); Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa (Coles 66); Wood, Ludlam (c), Harrison (Wilkins 64).
Referee: Matthew Carley