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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Sunday, 12 April 2009 17:59 UK

Saracens 32-13 Newcastle

Saracens (23) 32
Tries: Johnson, BarrittCons: Jackson 2 Pens: Jackson 5 Drop: Jackson
Newcastle (3) 13
Tries: D Williams, RowsonPens: May

Glen Jackson
Jackson is the top points scorer in the Premiership with 223

Saracens cruised into a European Challenge Cup semi-final against Northampton with a comfortable victory over Newcastle at Vicarage Road.

First-half tries from prop Census Johnston and centre Brad Barritt gave the hosts a 20-point lead at the break.

Fly-half Glen Jackson slotted 22 points to keep the scoreboard ticking over as the Falcons struggled for a response.

Late tries from Danny Williams and Phil Dowson added to Tom May's ninth-minute penalty but it was not enough.

May's successful kick was the first score of the match, but it was not long before Jackson struck with two penalties to steal the lead.


Johnston went over from secure line-out ball deep in the Newcastle half with the conversion by Jackson who then proved his kicking could be just as dangerous from open play.

His deft grubber was scooped up by former Natal Shark Barritt who dived over and saw his score converted to make it 20-3.

Williams gathered a finely-judged crossfield kick to touch down after the break but, with Jackson piling on the points either side of the try, it failed to raise much hope amongst the away fans.

The Saracens' defence could afford to allow Dowson to burrow through in the final minute as they look forward to their trip to Franklin's Gardens on 2 or 3 May.

Saracens head coach Richard Graham on fly-half Glen Jackson:
"We sent him to Portugal last week. He's played a lot of rugby, I think the most games of any player in the Premiership this year and he came back with a tan, a big smile on his face and looks a new man.

"We knew going into the game if he played well we'd have a real shout of winning it.

"In the first half in particular we did very well in the areas of the game we targeted. We stuck to our guns and at half-time we had built a score and dominated."

Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates on Jonny Wilkinson's comeback:
"We're still working hard to try and rehabilitate that knee and make sure that things are progressing but time is running out for him to get back on the field.

"We haven't been able to get him back to do a full week's training and that has to be the bare minimum before we think about putting him in the side.

"We've got two more games this season and there's no guarantee he will play in either."

Saracens: Goode, Wyles, Powell, Barritt, Penney, Jackson, de Kock; Aguero, Ongaro, Johnston, Borthwick, Chesney, Jack, Seymour, Skirving.
Replacements: Cato for Wyles (70), A. Farrell for Barritt (60), Wilson for de Kock (69), Cairns for Ongaro (49), Visagie for Johnston (56), Barrell for Borthwick (71), Ryder for Chesney (48).

Newcastle: Tait, D. Williams, Noon, Tu'ipulotu, Rudd, May, Young; D. Wilson, Thompson, Hayman, Parling, Sorenson, Dowson, B. Wilson, Balding.
Replacements: Visser for D. Williams (66), Miller for Rudd (71), Charlton for Young (60), Ward for D. Wilson (60), Vickers for Thompson (54), Swinson for Parling (54), Winter for B. Wilson (63).

Att: 7,711

Ref: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

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see also
Wilkinson's Lions hopes receding
12 Apr 09 |  Newcastle
European Challenge Cup R6 review
25 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R5 review
18 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R4 review
14 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R3 review
06 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup R2 review
19 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Saracens 44-14 Newcastle
21 Sep 08 |  English

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