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Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 59-33 Newcastle Falcons

Match Reaction: Northampton Saints 59-33 Newcastle Falcons

Northampton Saints will host the inaugural Premiership Rugby Cup final at Franklin’s Gardens after defeating Newcastle Falcons 59-33 in a lunchtime kick-off which provided feast of attacking play.

There were 14 tries in total in the semi-final as the hosts ran in nine to the visitors five to take the victory.

Saints had trailed by 21 points in the first half but eventually drew level at 33-33 before accelerating away in the final 30 minutes thanks to a Heinz Brussow double, Luther Burrell and Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Their reward is a cup final match up against Gallagher Premiership Rugby champions Saracens, who beat Worcester Warriors last night.

 

MAN OF THE MATCH

Outside centre Rory Hutchinson launched the Northampton Saints comeback as his break set up George Furbank to touch down just before the half-hour mark.

His show-and-go gave him some space and he followed it up with a step around full-back Tom Arscott to release his teammate for the try.

Hutchinson, 23, also made a key break just before half-time prior to Lewis Ludlam’s try at close quarters.

He was again involved in a score as Burrell touched down with 10 minutes to play, the outside centre carried close to the line and passed to James Grayson, who kicked 14 points on the day, who released the inside centre to score.

 

TRY OF THE MATCH

Not short on options here – with a series of fine scores in a match full of attacking flair.

Newcastle’s fourth try, touched down by Zach Kibirige, was a fine effort worth noting despite the result.

The ball was spun wide after some phase play on the left of the field deep in the Northampton half.

It was in the hands of Vereniki Goneva, a man well known for his crashing carrying and quick step, in the midfield but he opted to nudge the ball through off his right boot.

Kibirige was the recipient as he raced onto the ball and touched down, giving Newcastle a 28-7 advantage in the first-half – unfortunately for Falcons the game swung the other way from there on.

 

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Taqele Naiyaravoro started the late burst of tries for the hosts as they secured their chance to play for the Premiership Rugby Cup next month.

The powerful winger showed his trademark tackle-breaking skills as he powered to the line.

He was almost at a standstill when he was about to touch down but managed to fall down over the try line, draped in Newcastle players, to score – making it 40-33 to the hosts.

It would provide the base for Saints to spring and run up the score late on.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Northampton Saints man of the match Rory Hutchinson said: “That first half Newcastle really came out. We were quite slow but luckily we were able to turn it around and get back on it.

“It was a really good win but there are still a few things to work on, which I think is quite obvious.

“We were not in our process and as soon as we got back into it we found things a lot easier. It just goes to show when we are on the money it works.”

Northampton Saints double try scorer Heinrich Brussow said: “It’s great for us [to be in a final]. It’s a trophy we could win with Saracens at home. Hopefully we can get a lot of people out and play a good game to win a trophy.

“[The young players] are just exciting to watch. Especially when we were behind they helped us score two tries from our own half. They gave us a jolt to get back into the game and they finished the game well for us.”

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “The first half was great to watch if you were a Newcastle fan and the second half was if you’re a Saints fan, and it was a game which had a lot of ebbs and flows. Sadly we came out on the wrong side of it.

“We were 28-7 up at one stage and were on fire, but we’ve got too many boys who are coming back from injury and hadn’t played for a long time. In that squad there were probably seven or eight who haven’t played for a while, and it showed on the day.

“In the first half-hour we got things right, our accuracy was good, but as soon as we tired we began to drop off. Northampton have been playing together a lot, and it showed as the game went on.

“The positives are that the things we worked on in training, we put into practice. To get 28 points so early on was testament to that, but out fitness levels and our conditioning levels I don’t think are quite right.

“The boys just aren’t fit enough, some of them mainly because they’ve not played for a while, and we’ve got to look at it very closely.”

 

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