Premiership: Northampton Saints fightback stuns Wasps, Saracens cruise past Newcastle Falcons

Planet Rugby
Courtnall Skosan Northampton v Wasps Premiership 2022 - PA.jpg

A stunning fightback in the dying moments of the second half sealed a remarkable 40-36 victory for Northampton Saints against Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Sunday.

Wasps were on course to victory, despite having full-back Jacob Umaga red carded in the 67th minute, as they were leading 36-28 in the game’s closing stages.

However, the visitors tore up the script as Alex Coles narrowed the gap to a point when he crossed for a converted try in the 79th minute before Skosan broke Wasps hearts with his match-winning score at the end.

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Wasps were forced into a couple of late changes, with John Ryan coming in for Vincent Koch at tighthead prop and Ben Morris replacing Tom Willis in the back-row.

Dan Biggar, who announced on Friday he would be leaving Northampton at the end of the season, opened the scoring with a simple penalty from in front of the posts after five minutes.

But it was the hosts who scored the game’s first try in the 11th minute when Nizaam Carr slipped through some slack defence before timing his pass to put Jack Willis in the clear.

Biggar then reduced Wasps’ lead to one point with his second penalty, but it was soon increased again when a huge overlap on the right led to Josh Bassett putting Paolo Odogwu in at the corner.

Umaga could not convert but he did add a penalty after Biggar was penalised for offside before nailing a superb strike from halfway as the visitors’ discipline deserted them again.

Saints then gave themselves a lifeline right on half-time as Biggar produced a brilliant off-load to set up Coles to score his first try and reduce the deficit to 18-14.

Biggar then slotted an easy penalty within three minutes of the restart, but two quick tries bagged the bonus point for Wasps.

Gabriel Oghre burrowed his way over from a metre out before Charlie Atkinson managed to ground the ball after chasing down his own kick ahead.

Saints quickly pulled a score back when Fraser Dingwall drew defenders before passing to put Ollie Sleightholme in down the left wing.

Umaga then extended Wasps’ lead with another penalty, but he was then sent off for taking Skosan out in mid-air after he had claimed George Furbank’s cross-field kick, leading to Saints being awarded a penalty try.

A penalty from Will Haydon-Wood with three minutes left appeared to have finally secured the win for Wasps, only for Northampton to produce an astonishing finish.

Coles ran in for his second of the afternoon in the 79th minute and there was still time for Skosan to snatch the most unlikely of victories by running in down the left after Tommy Freeman had picked him out.

Impressive Saracens put Newcastle Falcons to the sword

Saracens continued with their superb start to the 2022/23 Premiership campaign as they clinched a 34-14 triumph over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday.

Max Malins scored a brace of tries as Saracens romped to a five-try victory at Kingston Park, their fourth successive league win.

Falcons were blown away in the first half, conceding 26 points without reply.

The visitors took the lead with three minutes on the clock, Alex Lewington winning the foot race to Elliot Daly’s kick in behind to touch down.

Owen Farrell pushed his conversion attempt wide, but Saracens went further ahead after nine minutes.

Newcastle were punished at the scrum as the Saracens pack drove forward and Kapeli Pifeleti bounced off a pair of defenders to go over, Farrell successful with the conversion.

Alex Lozowski grabbed the third try of the afternoon, once again in the left corner as quick hands from Daly allowed him to dive over, Farrell nailing the conversion from out wide.

Saracens looked a threat every time they came forward as they pinned Newcastle deep inside their own half.

A fantastic break from Ivan van Zyl saw the scrum-half dart through and a long pass released Lozowski, but he was denied by a great tackle by the covering Adam Radwan.

The bonus point was secured with 10 minutes of the first half remaining as neat play down the right involving Billy Vunipola and Nick Tompkins allowed Malins to cross. Farrell was again successful with the extras.

The second half continued in much the same way, with Saracens on the front foot and playing some excellent free-flowing rugby, albeit without threatening the scoreboard.

They suffered their first setback after 54 minutes as Mako Vunipola was given a red card for a dangerous clear-out, leading with his shoulder on Mateo Carreras.

But a minute later they added their fifth try of the afternoon as Malins scored a classy try in the right corner after excellent hands from the backs.

Newcastle finally got on the scoresheet after 65 minutes when Tian Schoeman broke clear and found Jamie Blamire for the England international to score, the South African adding the extras.

A rare error from Saracens handed Newcastle their second try.

A knock-on at the back of the line-out was scooped up by Carreras and he scampered in from 30 metres, with Schoeman kicking the conversion.

Farrell added a late penalty as the Falcons were penalised for not releasing in front of the posts.

Carreras thought he had grabbed his second try with a sensational solo effort, but the television match official ruled the ball had gone dead after he raced from inside his own half and chipped over Tompkins.

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