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Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Saturday, 29 October 2011 17:21 UK

Northampton 44-15 Newcastle

Northampton (18) 44
Tries: May 2, Artemyev 2, Ashton 2 Cons: Lamb 3, Myler Pens: Lamb 2
Newcastle (12) 15
Pens: Gopperth 4 Drop-goal: Gopperth

Northampton's Phil Dowson tackles Newcastle's Corne Uys
Northampton's Phil Dowson tackles Newcastle's Corne Uys during the Saints' emphatic win at Franklin's Gardens

Northampton's Tom May marked his 200th Premiership appearance with two tries to help Saints to a bonus-point win over former club Newcastle Falcons.

May crossed twice in the space of seven minutes but Jimmy Gopperth kicked three penalties and a drop goal to keep the Falcons in touch at the break at 18-12.

Russian winger Vasily Artemyev extended Saints' lead with a brace on his league debut before Chris Ashton dived over.

Ashton added the gloss when he picked up to race clear for Saints' sixth try.

The two sides kicked off as the Premiership's bottom two teams but Northampton, who went into the game on the back of three straight wins in the league and LV= Cup, were boosted by the return of a quintet of England players from World Cup duty.

Ryan Lamb's early penalty for Northampton was cancelled out by Jimmy Gopperth before the Saints eased into a 15-3 lead as centre May scored his first two tries for the club since his summer move from Toulon.

Prop Soane Tonga'uiha played a part in both, charging down Newcastle scrum-half Chris Pilgrim's clearance kick in the build up to the first, before his powerful drive set up the second.

Gopperth replied with a penalty and, with Saints down to 14 men with Courtney Lawes in the sin-bin for a late challenge on Jeremy Manning, then drew his side to within three points with another penalty and a drop-goal.

Lamb landed his second penalty from three attempts to ensure the home side went into half-time with a deserved six-point advantage.

And Saints were soon out of sight as Artemyev went over twice in succession to take his tally to six tries in three games in all competitions for the club.

Gopperth kicked his fourth penalty to chip away at Northampton's lead but it proved futile as Phil Dowson offloaded to send Ashton in under the posts before the England winger picked up a loose ball and raced 60 metres to complete the scoring.

POST-MATCH REACTION

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder tells BBC Radio Northampton:

"It was important to win well. Newcastle worked hard and made life uncomfortable in the first half, but it was pleasing to take a grip of the game in the second half.

"We had to stop giving them penalties and we needed to look after the ball.

"Ryan Lamb has done really well in the last few weeks, he's got a tremendous eye for the gap as well as being able to distribute well."

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait:

"At half-time the changing room was happy but I warned them they were playing a very good Northampton team.

"We started the second half really poorly and you could see the heads going again. We're at the bottom and it doesn't take a lot to see their heads go, but they are a good set of lads."

LINE-UPS

Northampton: Foden, Ashton, Clarke, May, Artemyev, Lamb, Dickson, Tonga'uiha, Hartley, Mujati, Manoa, Lawes, Clark, Wood, Dowson.

Replacements: Armstrong for Clarke (63), Myler for Lamb (68), Roberts for Dickson (60), A. Waller for Tonga'uiha (63), Haywood for Hartley (63), Doran-Jones for Mujati (63), Sorenson for Lawes (60), Wilson for Clark (60).

Sin Bin: Lawes (27).

Newcastle: Manning, Eves, Uys, Helleur, Sheriffe, Gopperth, Pilgrim, Shiells, Graham, Murray, van der Heijden, Swinson, Wilson, Welch, Hogg.

Replacements: A. Tait for Helleur (55), Goosen for Gopperth (68), Pasqualin for Pilgrim (58), Wells for Shiells (58), M. Mayhew for Graham (64), Frazier for Murray (72), Townson for van der Heijden (39). Not Used: Pennycook.

Att: 13,326

Ref: JP Doyle (RFU).



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see also
Ospreys 22-32 Northampton
22 Oct 11 |  Ospreys
Newcastle 33-3 Cardiff Blues
18 Oct 11 |  Cardiff Blues
Rugby Union commentaries
14 Feb 13 |  Rugby Union


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