Planet Rugby

Close but no cigar for Falcons

20th April 2012 21:39

Share:

jimmy gopperth newcastle v saracens

Newcastle: Went down fighting

Newcastle lost 9-3 to Saracens at Kingston Park on Friday, but not without a fight as the hosts fought tooth and nail until the end.

Saracens' victory confirmed their place in the play-offs and inched Newcastle nearer to relegation.

Given what was at stake, it is no surprise that this one began as a tight and tense battle but it never really got going at all as both sides approached the match with caution and were reluctant to try things for fear of making a mistake.

Both were also guilty of some aimless kicking out of hand and it took until midway through the first half for Owen Farrell to give the visitors the lead from the tee.

There was no lack of endeavour from the hosts as the half wore on but they were unable to trouble the scoreboard at all as both teams were conservative in the extreme and the ball spent a huge proportion of the game high in the night sky.

Saracens doubled their lead with another Farrell penalty in the early stages of the second half after their advantage at the scrum resulted in a penalty in the opposition twenty-two.

Jimmy Gopperth did peg the Londoners back with three points of his own but Sarries' continued domination in the scrum provided another penalty opportunity for Farrell and he duly slotted it over to restore their six-point advantage with quarter of an hour remaining.

When replacement Justin Melck was sinbinned for a dubious late hit shortly afterwards though, the Falcons were presented with a superb opportunity to boost their survival hopes.

But despite playing some far more enterprising rugby against fourteen men and going for the converted try they needed for the win, they were unable to make the breakthrough and Saracens' defence held out to secure their playoff place.

The Falcons laid siege to the opposition try-line in the final minutes and although they were unable to win the game, they picked up a vital bonus point which increases their chances of survival because it means their fate will remain in their own hands as long as Wasps don't win against Bath on Saturday, even if they pick up a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Pen: Gopperth

For Saracens:
Pens: Farrell 3

Newcastle: 15 Greg Goosen, 14 Corne Uys, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Peter Stringer,8 Adam Balding, 7 Will Welch, 6 Ally Hogg, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jonny Golding.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 James Hall, 19 James Goode, 20 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 21 Mark Wilson, 22 Chris Pilgrim, 23 Tom Catterick.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.

Referee: JP Doyle

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
Edinburgh 20 - 20 ScarletsEdinburgh vs Scarlets Report
Glasgow 39 - 21 ConnachtGlasgow vs Connacht Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bayonne 35 - 19 ToulouseBayonne vs Toulouse Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411