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Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 27 Saracens 35

Mark McCall hailed his Saracens attack after their five-try display against Newcastle Falcons saw them move to within one point of second-placed Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Fly-half Alex Lozowski scored two tries as the defending champions won 35-27 in an entertaining game at Kingston Park.

Michael Rhodes and Lozowski crossed in the first half, while the influential ten added his second after the break along with further tries for Chris Ashton and replacement Nathan Earle.

Newcastle stayed within touching distance for the majority of the match and scored through Dominic Waldouck before two late efforts from Vereniki Goneva and David Wilson saw them set up a tense final few minutes.

The game was also notable for the return of Saracens back row Billy Vunipola, as he made his first appearance in four months after he suffered a knee injury in November while playing for England.

But McCall preferred to focus on his side’s ruthlessness in attack, as they prepare for the final stretch of the season.

“We were pretty clinical when we got some opportunities or half-opportunities,” he said.

“I thought we defended well in the first 65 minutes because they are unbelievably dangerous and play some great rugby.

“For us to come up here and get five tries and five points is a good achievement.

“They have got some players who are hard to handle and, when they get on a roll like that, they are as good as anybody in attack.”

In contrast, Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards was left to rue several golden chances as his side slumped to a second consecutive league defeat – saying that was the only difference between the sides.

“We are disappointed but it’s probably a measure of where we are at this moment in time,” he said.

“We missed three try-scoring opportunities. Had we taken those it might have been a different thing altogether.

“That was probably the story of the day, really, and Saracens were far more clinical than we were.

“I am pretty upset about it and I know the players are as well.”

Newcastle: Tait; Goneva, Waldouck (C Harris 65), Socino, Sinoti; Hodgson (Delany 68), Takulua (Egerton 75), Vickers (B Harris 68), Cooper (Lawson 53), Welsh (D Wilson 75), Green, Olmstead (Chick 69), M Wilson, Welch, Latu (Hogg 53).

Saracens: Taylor (Earle 29); Ashton, Bosch, Barritt, Maitland (Malins 72) Lozowski, Wigglesworth (Spencer 59), M Vunipola (Lamositele 69), Brits (Saunders 72), Figallo (Du Plessis 69), Rhodes, Hamilton, Wray, Conlon (Brown 63), B Vunipola (Flanagan 72).


Newcastle Falcons

Tries: Waldouck, Goneva, D Wilson

Conv: Takulua, Delany 2

Pen: Takulua 2


Tries: Rhodes, Lozowski 2, Ashton, Earle

Conv: Lozowski 2

Penalties: Lozowski 2

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

Attendance: 7,899

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