Planet Rugby

Saints defeat prepares them for drop

08th April 2007 17:13

Share:

Jonny Wilkinson Newcastle v Northampton

Wilkinson tries to escape the Saints defence

Newcastle heaped the pressure on Northampton with a hard fought 16-7 victory in the Guinness Premiership at Kingston Park on Sunday, securing their status in the top flight for another season.

But for Heineken Cup semi-finalists Northampton the spectre of the drop remains after they failed to reproduce the fighting display that brought them victory in San Sebastien against Biarritz.

The Saints could not even manage a bonus point although they dominated possession throughout in front of a 10,200 sell-out crowd, who inspired the Falcons to a tremendous defensive display.

Newcastle started with a bang, muscling the Saints pack up the the line after opting to kick to the corner rather than taking three points and when the maul collapsed just short, Lee Dickson whipped the ball out and Toby Flood stepped through for a seventh-minute try which Jonny Wilkinson converted.

Northampton were struggling to handle the Falcons' pace especially through the middle and the Saints were forced to concede successive penalties 40 metres out and Wilkinson kicked them both, in the 11th and 18th minutes, despite a swirling wind.

Saints then dominated possession for the rest if the half but were unable to make any real headway against a solid Falcons defence which was never more evident than when Northampton also opted for the penalty to the corner but failed to convert the driving maul.

A quick penalty from Ben Cohen was also snuffed out by some determined cover tackles and the Saints would be questioning whether they should have kicked at goal with both chances as the Falcons went in at the break leading 13-0.

Newcastle wasted a great chance when they lost the line-out in the corner after spurning the kick at goal and then Wilkinson twice kicked the ball dead when going for position.

It was all a bit messy as Flood screwed a drop goal shot well wide and Northampton finally got their act together with a series of driving mauls which ended with Christian Labit driving over even though it appeared he lost the ball as he crashed through.

Referee Chris White had no doubt and Spencer kicked the conversion for the Saints to be right back in the game at 13-7.

The score prompted a wave of Falcons attacks with John Rudd and Jamie Noon both going close before Wilkinson kicked a 65th minute penalty.

It was all very nervy and Northampton spilled the ball from a driving maul after going for the corner and then Matt Burke, of all people, ran it in his own 22 and then threw a pass straight into touch when a clearing kick was called for.

Once again Northampton were dominating possession but they could not find a way through the Newcastle defence and the game ended with a series of driving rucks and mauls in midfield which the Falcons were perfectly happy with.

The Scorers:

For Newcastle:

Try: Flood

Con: Wilkinson

Pens: Wilkinson 3

For Northampton:

Try: Labit

Con: Spencer

The Teams:

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Matthew Burke (c), 14 Tom May, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Jamie Noon, 11 Toby Flood, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Brent Wilson, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Geoff Parling, 5 Andy Perry, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Micky Ward, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Joe McDonnell

Replacements: 16 Jon Golding, 17 Andy Long, 18 Andy Buist, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 John Rudd, 21 James Grindal, 22 Loki Crichton

Northampton Saints: 15 Paul Diggin, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Bruce Reihana (c), 12 Robbie Kydd, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Mark Robinson, 8 Christian Labit, 7 Darren Fox, 6 Paul Tupai, 5 Christian Short, 4 David Gerard, 3 Chris Budgen, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Tom Smith

Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 John Brooks, 18 Damien Browne, 19 Mark Hopley, 20 Johnny Howard, 21 Stephen Myler, 22 Vaughan Going

Referee: Chris White

Touch judges: Paul Emerson, Robin Goodliffe

Assessor: Colin High

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 23
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00