Saracens claim maximum at Newcastle

Date published: December 6 2015

Saracens moved back to the Premiership summit after claiming a 38-3 bonus-point win away to Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Tries from Samu Vunisa, Nick Tompkins, Charlie Hodgson and Billy Vunipola sealed the five points for Saracens, as they destroyed a Falcons side still searching for their first win of the season.

It started superbly for Saracens, as debutant Vunisa opened his try scoring account just 10 minutes into his opening game. A line-out five metres from the line saw the visitors band together to force Vunisa over the Falcons line. Five points turned to seven when Hodgson's penalty went through via the post as Saracens started brilliantly.

Hodgson kicked a further three points 20 minutes in, as the visitors moved onto double figures and showed why they are league leaders at this early stage.

Falcons got off the mark minutes later courtesy of Tom Catterick's penalty, after a rare home foray into the Saracens 22.

Neither side could really get much possession time, with the game stop start for much of the half. But right at the end of it, Saracens restored their 10 point advantage. Hodgson kicked through his second penalty of the afternoon to put his side into a commanding half-time position.

Seven minutes into the second-half and Mike Ellery almost went over for try number two, but a cross-field kick narrowly evaded his reach for what would have been a certain game clincher.

Hodgson continued his accuracy from the first-half into the second, and he condemned Falcons to another three points as the lead went up to 13.

62 minutes in, and that lead got bigger. The visitors, dominant all afternoon, got try number two through Tompkins. A break in the midfield saw Tompkins receive possession, and he crashed over to further punish Falcons.

Two extra points came through Hodgson, before two tries in the final minutes sealed a superb afternoon for the table toppers, as well as the bonus point.

The first of the late tries came from Hodgson, who capped his impressive kicking with five points more. It was standard Hodgson as he nipped in to rob the ball away, before making his way down field and leaping over.

In an attempt to hurry the game up, his conversion went wide of the posts. But it was ultimately the right decision to rush, because it provided that extra point.

Replacement number eight Vunipola went over four minutes into additional time, crashing over after a quick tap five metres from the line, with Falcons too busy searching for a consolation score. And the conversion was good from Alex Goode on an afternoon where Saracens dismantled a Falcons side who have won just one Premiership game in 15.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Pen: Catterick

For Saracens:
Tries: Vunisa, Tompkins, Hodgson, B Vunipola
Con: Hodgson 2, Goode
Pen: Hodgson 4

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Calum Green, 4 Sean Robinson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Sonatane Takulua 22 Craig Willis, 23 Chris Harris.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George (c), 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Tim Streather, 23 Ben Ransom.

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Andy Watson
TMO: David Grashoff