Saints go marching on against Falcons
February 23, 2014
Northampton's Tom Stephenson connects with Will Welch © Getty Images
James Wilson's first-half double helped Northampton to a 22-16 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday.
Newcastle snatched a losing bonus point with a Noah Cato try two minutes from time but the Saints had already done enough damage to secure the win. Northampton's opening try in the seventh minute came from a quick free kick by scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i, and Wilson cruised in at the corner for 5-0 with the Newcastle defence nowhere to be seen. They soon had a second when Tom Stephenson's weaving 16th-minute run ended up with him going under the posts.
Wilson's second try came from terrific passing under pressure from Fotuali'i and Myler, and George Pisi could have scored himself but handed it in on to Wilson. Myler's conversion was heading wide until the wind blew it inside the post for 19-6.
Newcastle made a much better fist of the second-half and spurned two kickable penalties to go for the line-out drive but Northampton's defence proved as good as their attack and both drives fizzled out. It was not until the 78th minute there was any real action when Cato snatched a loose pass from Myler to go over. Joel Hodgson nailed a key conversion to hand the Falcons a losing bonus point.
Vereniki Goneva excelled for Leicester © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers retook fourth spot in the Premiership thanks to a hard fought 20-15 win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.
Leicester outscored London Irish 10-9 in the first-half with Ben Youngs scampering in early on and Lugovi'i Mulipola scoring their second despite it looking from some angles that he was held up by Ovisa Treviranus. In return, Irish mustered three penalties from James O'Connor though were reduced to 14 men in the 36th minute when Eamon Sheridan was sin-binned for catching Mathew Tait in the air.
And it was the Tigers who started the second-half the better as Vereniki Goneva's superb solo effort gave them a strong lead. Although Owen Williams added a penalty minutes later to make it 20-9, London Irish refused to lie down as penalties from O'Connor and Iain Humphries chipped Ireland back to within five points of Leicester, who had Thomas Waldrom sin-binned on the 67th minute.
Welcome back to first-team rugby, Joel Tomkins © Getty Images
In the closing stages of the match London Irish thought they had the try that would give them a shot at the win but Jebb Sinclair's effort was ruled out for a knock-on in the build-up.
Exeter Chiefs suffered their fifth straight defeat in the Premiership as Saracens beat them 23-10 at Allianz Park.
Exeter started the better of the two teams with Ian Whitten crashing over in the corner after just nine minutes. But the Chiefs lost an essential figure in their pack, hooker Jack Yeandle, which led to Saracens getting the better of the set piece. Their territory was eventually rewarded with a try in the 33rd minute when James Johnston was the man left holding the ball as a rolling maul trundled over the Exeter line.
Come the second 40, with the scores locked at 7-7, it was Saracens who took the lead when the rolling maul again paid dividends as all but two of the home side's XV joined forces to push Schalk Brits over the line. Despite a lengthy delay for what looked to be a nasty injury for Mouritz Botha, Saracens continued keeping the pressure on Exeter and a pair of Charlie Hodgson penalties stretched the lead to 20-10.
Saracens finished the game with 14 men with Jacques Burger in the bin but still added another three points through Hodgson as they closed the game out.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood admitted he will "try anything" to steer the club clear of relegation from the Premier League following his side's narrow victory against rivals West Brom
Eben Etzebeth has been cleared to make his return for the Stormers this weekend while Schalk Burger could also face the Sharks after finishing up in Japan
West Ham striker Carlton Cole has been charged by the FA in relation to a comment posted on social media
Centre Luther Burrell will miss the early part of England's wider build-up to their Six Nations clash with Scotland after picking up a calf strain
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has hinted she is considering a return to professional tennis
Dave Rennie got the better of Todd Blackadder in Hamilton, where the Chiefs had a master plan that paid dividends for them, Craig Dowd writes
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
ESPN rounds up the pre-season of all the protagonists of the upcoming season and tries to make sense of the pecking order ahead of the Australian Grand Prix
A basketball match between Bilbao Basket and Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in the Spanish ACB League was marred by a brawl that erupted in the closing stages of the game
After enduring a tricky start to his Manchester United career, perhaps it is fair that Marcos Rojo celebrated so boisterously as he watched his first professional club Estudiantes beat fierce rivals Gimnasia
Sunderland have suspended midfielder Adam Johnson pending the outcome of a police investigation, the club announced on Monday
Jose Mourinho says the Premier League title race is still wide open and insists even Manchester United are contenders
Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville claimed Manchester City should be "embarrassed" by how easy they made it for Liverpool on Sunday
Arsene Wenger's decision to drop Per Mertesacker could be a "defining moment" for Arsenal, according to the club's former defender Martin Keown
Rafael Benitez has raised concerns about the long-term fitness of Chelsea captain John Terry after revealing the defender is trapped in "a vicious circle" regarding his persistent knee injury
The idea of Chelsea squeezing in a quick 20-minute Wembley celebration before getting back to work is both admirable and typically soulless, writes Alan Tyers
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher marked his return to football punditry by coining a new name for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
John Terry was visibly emotional during the national anthem in Sunday's League Cup final, but don't get your hopes up - he's not coming back to the England team
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
When was the last time the F1 world champion driver's team didn't win the constructors' championship?