Northampton claim first win of the season after holding off late Newcastle surge

Planet Rugby
Northampton Saints face up with Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership.

Northampton Saints face up with Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership.

Northampton Saints ran out 16-14 victors over Newcastle Falcons in a tightly fought Premiership contest at Kingston Park on Sunday afternoon.

Saints scored their only try through Curtis Langdon with fly-half Fin Smith adding points from the tee courtesy of three penalties and a conversion.

Newcastle fought back bravely with a late Iwan Stephens five-pointer getting the side close – after Brett Connon had succeeded with three penalties – but it was not to be as their winless start to the season continues.

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Winger Adam Radwan made his 100th appearance for Newcastle, earning a big ovation when he emerged from the East Stand prior to the game.

Skipper George Furbank and Fraser Dingwall returned to the starting line-up for Saints, who were looking to make it five successive victories over their opponents.

The first 10 minutes proved an even affair, before Northampton conceded a penalty 35 metres from the posts for offside, with Connon taking the chance to nudge the Falcons ahead with the kick.

But they conceded a penalty of their own from a scrum in the 16th minute and Smith levelled the game at 3-3.

The two teams struggled to create clear-cut chances throughout the half as the rain continued to pour in the north east.

Connon stepped up in the 27th minute to add to the score – a 40-yard penalty which sailed through the posts to put Newcastle back in front.

But the Falcons conceded another penalty at a ruck a minute from the end of the half, and Smith again scored to make it six apiece.

Connon had another opportunity eight minutes after the break, but his 100 per cent record came to an end as his effort went wide of the right-hand post.

And they were made to pay in the 54th minute when Tom Pearson burst through the home defence and offloaded to Langdon to dot down for the game’s first try.

Connon converted a 10-metre penalty on the hour mark to reduce the deficit to four points, but Smith again hit back with one of his own shortly after to increase his side’s lead to seven.

The Falcons eventually got their reward for a period of pressure when Stephens crossed on the left side after heroic defending from the Saints backline stopped Newcastle from going over initially.

But Connon hit the post with the tricky conversion, and his side could not take advantage of Hendy’s yellow card to find a way back.

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