Aviva Premiership: Saracens win while Newcastle Falcons earn bonus point
Last Updated: 20/04/14 6:44pm
Jackson Wray sprints forward for Saracens
Saracens strengthened their position at the top of the Aviva Premiership table with a 23-18 victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park.
Leicester's defeat to Harlequins on Friday meant Sarries started the match having already secured a home play-off semi-final, but the league leaders did not take their foot off the pedal.
Tries from Tim Streather and Ben Ransom took them nine points clear of second-placed Northampton with only 10 left to play for between now and the end of the regular season.
The struggling Falcons did manage to secure a crucial losing bonus point thanks to a late try from Warren Fury. They are now eight points clear of bottom side Worcester with only two games remaining.
It looked like it may turn out even better for the Falcons when they scored the first try of the match after just three minutes, Sinoti Sinoti shrugging off two cover tackles to finish a fine move in the corner.
Jack Wilson took out Alex Tait in the air in the eighth minute to earn himself a yellow card, but Saracens showed why they are top of the table by scoring an impressive try while down to 14 men.
Their 11th-minute effort was started by Alex Goode and ended with an easy finish for Streather after some adept handling from Matt Stevens, Alistair Hargreaves and Jackson Wray.
Charlie Hodgson added the conversion from out wide for good measure and kicked an 18th minute penalty to make it 10-5 and dent the Falcons' early optimism.
Saracens continued to come forward but the Falcons kept them out and Joel Hodgson nailed a 48-metre penalty to make it 10-8 to the visitors at the break.
Saracens restored the five-point gap shortly after the restart when Charlie Hodgson booted over another penalty.
The Falcons pack did manage to pressure the Saracens scrum and a 57th minute penalty allowed Joel Hodgson narrow the lead to two points again.
But Saracens regrouped at the set piece and Newcastle quickly went backwards at successive scrums, with a subsequent penalty allowing Charlie Hodgson to slot over another three-pointer.
The lead was increased when Sinoti threw a wild pass 30 metres from the Saracens line and Ransom snapped it up to race away for a converted try.
Knowing the value of a losing bonus point, Newcastle threw everything into attack in the closing minutes and were rewarded when Fury scrambled over and the try was eventually confirmed by the television match officials. Phil Godman added the extras.
Fri 24th Apr
Bath43 - 18London Irish
Sat 25th Apr
Sale Sharks23 - 25Harlequins
Gloucester42 - 40Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers38 - 17London Welsh
Northampton25 - 20Saracens
Sun 26th Apr
Wasps36 - 29Exeter
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 20
Bath first-team coach declined to criticise the referee for George Ford's yellow card during the win over Worcester.
Wasps moved into the European play-off spot with a 38-30 victory over Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership at Twickenham.
Bath moved back up to third in the Aviva Premiership table thanks to a 32-20 victory over bottom club Worcester.