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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Sunday, 9 October 2011 17:02 UK

Saracens 25-5 Newcastle Falcons

Saracens (18) 25
Tries: Maddock, Goode, Short Cons: Hodgson 2 Pens: Hodgson 2
Newcastle (5) 5
Tries: Fielden

James Short
Short made sure of Sarries win with a second-half try

Premiership champions Saracens stay second after enjoying a comfortable win over Newcastle at Vicarage Road.

Joe Maddock and Alex Goode ran in first-half tries as Sarries opened up an 18-5 interval lead, the Falcons replying through Luke Fielden.

Winger James Short then added another Sarries try in the second half, Charlie Hodgson kicking the second of his two conversions to add to three penalties.

Sarries kept up the pressure on leaders Harlequins with their fifth win.

But the reigning champions trooped off at the end looking dejected at their failure to convert an emphatic percentage of possession and territory into a fourth try and a bonus point.

Bottom club Newcastle never looked capable of springing a surprise, but that did not stop them erecting a defiant barrier during the final quarter.

Saracens took a deserved lead on 15 minutes when Maddock took a pass from Goode and raced in on the right following a series of quick phases, but Hodgson's attempted conversion faded across the face of goal.

Newcastle responded in kind within two minutes, right wing Fielden forcing the ball down on the right despite being tackled by Short feet from the line. But Jimmy Gopperth, like Hodgson a renowned goal-kicker, also watched his kick sail wide.

Hodgson made no mistake with his next shot at goal - a 24th-minute penalty following a scrum offence.

Referee Luke Pearce then signalled advantage to Saracens for offside as Hodgson fired out a fine pass right to Owen Farrell, but the centre knocked on with the Falcons in retreat, so Hodgson went back to the penalty and drilled it between the posts.

Saracens were now in full flow, a sweeping cross-field move producing a second try when Farrell's pass armed full-back Goode to score in the left-hand corner on 36 minutes, Hodgson adding the extras.

Gopperth' crashed a penalty against the right post to signal the end of the first half. But there was to be just one second-half score.

Short made a dazzling 80-metres run that left three tacklers in his wake. And, although halted initially, the ball was recycled and Brad Barritt returned it to the winger, whose try was awarded by referee Luke Pearce.

It was one-way traffic for the rest of the match as Saracens chased the all-important fourth try but the Falcons kept them out.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"We made a catalogue of errors and it was very frustrating not to come away with the bonus point, and we left two or three tries out there that should have been taken.

"But I cannot criticise the players for their efforts. We scored three tries in 45 minutes and have moved up to second in the table.

"We have our World Cup players returning now and they'll get a chance to freshen up before we resume Premiership action in three weeks.

"I actually feel we have done well during the World Cup period, probably because we have not treated players as if they are anything other than Saracens players, not players selected while others are away.

"Once we correct the small errors the scores will follow. I am very pleased with our ambition."

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait:

"I'm delighted with their efforts and believe it could be a real turning point for the rest of the season.

"A lot of lads came down and put their hands up, and while we did suffer a few injuries, the boys accept that when you play the big sides you'll have to come to terms with that.

"I also felt we were unlucky when Ally Hogg went over only to have the try disallowed, and it was worse when they went up the other end and scored their third try. That was tough.

"I never thought we would have to battle through the first six games with so many injuries, but the young lads have done very well. Losing James Hudson to suspension is a blow and we have decided to appeal the length of the ban.

"But now we get a couple of weeks in the LV Cup and that's a chance for us to regroup."


Saracens: Goode; Maddock, Farrell, Barritt, Short; Hodgson, De Kock; Carstens, Brits, Nieto; Borthwick (capt), Kruis; Wray, Saull, Joubert.

Replacements: Strettle for Short (46), Gill for Carstens (51), Botha for Borthwick (56), Melck for Saull (59), George for Brits (59), Spencer for de Kock (61), Powell for Farrell (66), Vunipola for Nieto (72),

Newcastle: A Tait; Fielden, Uys, Helleur, Shortland; Gopperth, Pilgrim; Shiells, Graham, Hall; Townson, Swinson; R Mayhew, Pennycook, Hogg.

Replacements: Goosen for A Tait (30), Fearn for Shiells (59), M Mayhew for Graham (59), van der Heijden for Swinson (59), Eves for Fielden (61), Chudley for Pilgrim (61), Wilson for Shortland (62), Wells for Hall (62).

Attendance: 5,892.

Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU).

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see also
Exeter 13-17 Saracens
01 Oct 11 |  Exeter
Newcastle Falcons 15-10 Wasps
02 Oct 11 |  Rugby Union
Rugby Union commentaries
14 Feb 13 |  Rugby Union

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