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Saracens win despite Falcons rally


Owen Farrell contributed 10 points for Saracens

Owen Farrell contributed 10 points for Saracens

Owen Farrell contributed 10 points for Saracens

Saracens survived a late fightback from Newcastle to walk away from Kingston Park with a 25-23 victory.

Neil de Kock, Nick Tompkins and Chris Ashton all scored tries while Owen Farrell contributed 10 points with the boot to give the visitors a seemingly comfortable 25-13 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

But Chris Harris set up a grandstand finale by scoring with five minutes to go and then crossed again with the final play of the match, leaving Juan Pablo Socino with a difficult wide out conversion which would have seen the match drawn at 25-25.

It was not to be, however, as the Argentinian's kick shaved the post as Saracens hung on to claim their seventh win of the season, while the Falcons' losing bonus point keeps them second bottom of the Aviva Premiership.

They can take heart from an encouraging performance in front of their biggest crowd for several seasons.

An attendance of 9,192 saw Newcastle make a strong start from the off, with Socino putting them ahead in the seventh minute with a penalty although Alex Tuilagi's try after a 60-metre dash was chalked off after the TMO judged the wing had put his foot in touch.

In a double blow, the 33-year-old injured himself in the process and had to be replaced by Harris.

Despite dominating in the opening stages, Saracens showed all their experience to engineer a try with their first real attack as Farrell put in De Kock in the left hand corner.

The Falcons almost responded immediately after when Socino burst through the Newcastle 22 but hesitation between him and Ally Hogg meant the hosts had to settle for a penalty to close the gap to 7-6.

However, Farrell put Saracens 10-6 ahead with a three-pointer after Newcastle were penalised for not releasing in the tackle.

But the Falcons, as they had done at the start of the match, came firing out of the blocks at the beginning of the second half, with Tom Catterick hacking the ball upfield when Billy Vunipola could not hold a high pass.

Sinoti Sinoti set off in blistering pursuit and held off Saracens centre Marcelo Bosch as he kicked ahead again and touched down for a 44th-minute try which Socino converted.

Saracens hit back as they upped the power in the pack and extracted a penalty which they kicked to the corner.

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They then drove the line-out, rolled infield and Tompkins dived through for a well-worked try converted by Farrell in the 56th minute to give Saracens a 17-13 lead.

It was a pivotal score and seemed to take the wind out of Newcastle's sails, especially when Farrell kicked another penalty six minutes later when it was ruled the Falcons had gone off their feet.

Then Ashton scored wide out with just 10 minutes left after the Saracens pack rumbled up to the line and Richard Wigglesworth popped the ball up for the winger to score and make it 25-13.

But Newcastle launched a frenetic attack and Harris dumped Ashton after he had intercepted a wild Sinoti pass and picked up to score.

Harris then scored again with the last play of the game to set up the chance of a draw but Socino could not convert.