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Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 7 Saracens 29

17 Sep 2017
Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 7 Saracens 29

American star Chris Wyles fittingly opened the scoring in Philadephia, but it was the boot of the returning Owen Farrell that proved the difference as Saracens edged out Newcastle Falcons 7-29.

In only the second Aviva Premiership Rugby clash ever to be played overseas, Falcons took on the Wolfpack in front of an excitable US crowd in the Talen Energy Stadium.

And it was a fairytale start, as who else but homegrown hero Chris Wyles – who grew up just up the road in Stamford – who notched the first score after just eight minutes.

Saracens shot out of the blocks and showed slick hands with Farrell offloading out the back, before Liam Williams and Alex Goode linked up well to release Wyles down the left for the game’s opening try.

Farrell brilliantly struck the extras from out wide, and that was the early warning sign that the England fly-half’s radar was tuned in – another five penalties were to follow from the No.10, who was starting his first Aviva Premiership clash of the season.

Sarries threatened again shortly after as Springbok openside Schalk Burger produced a brilliantly deft grubber-kick which Simon Hammersley had no option but to collect and run into touch five metres out.

Newcastle performed some heroic defence to repel wave after wave of Saracens attacks, but with the Men in Black pressing for a second score, Falcons hit them on the counter.

Mark Wilson showed superb awareness to snatch up a loose ball after Jamie George uncharacteristically spilled, starting off a length-of-the-field score by releasing Vereniki Goneva who finished well.

But two Farrell penalties right in front of the posts before half-time saw Saracens go in ahead, and while Goode looked trapped on his own line just before the break, Farrell got back brilliantly to clear out and Saracens breathed a sigh of relief.

Farrell was metronomic from the tee after the break, adding three more penalties to put Saracens out of sight as Newcastle were forced to defend for long periods.

Something had to give and on 73 minutes a lovely move off the back a scrum from the Wolfpack produced a penalty try with Goneva guilty of a deliberate knock-on, and the centre saw yellow as a result.