Fal­cons leave it late to give Saints big shock


Sunday Sun - - Rugby -

MARK Wil­son’s 86th-minute try and Toby Flood’s con­ver­sion gave New­cas­tle Fal­cons a shock 16-14 win at Northamp­ton Saints in a thrilling Gal­lagher Premier­ship en­counter at Franklin’s Gar­dens.

Bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble New­cas­tle had trailed 14-9 in the clos­ing stages af­ter Cobus Reinach’s try dou­ble for the hosts.

But Wil­son – back from Eng­land in­ter­na­tional duty – was on hand at the end to break the Saints with Flood sim­ply adding the two­points in front of the posts to give the Fal­cons their third Premier­ship win of the sea­son.

Eng­land cap­tain Dy­lan Hart­ley re­turned from in­ter­na­tional duty for the Saints for his 250th ap­pear­ance for the club.

Flood kicked New­cas­tle ahead in­side two min­utes af­ter Jamie Gib­son was pe­nalised for tak­ing out a player in the air at the game’s first li­ne­out.

Big­gar was pulling the strings at out­side­half for the hosts, demon­strat­ing his worth as Wales’ num­ber one 10. His inch-per­fect re­verse ball to Ah­see Tuala sent the full-back run­ning to­wards the try-line but the held to clear lines. That was a re­peat­ing story as the Saints went with­out re­ward for a num­ber of promis­ing at­tacks. Un­forced er­rors ham­pered the hosts in the first half. Big­gar’s loose pass led to the Saints be­ing visi­tors firm their pe­nalised at the break­down with Courtney Lawes’ com­ment to ref­eree Matthew Car­ley see­ing Flood go­ing from a kick to touch to a shot at goal, which the for­mer Eng­land in­ter­na­tional duly took to dou­ble New­cas­tle’s lead.

Even­tu­ally, af­ter 30 min­utes, the Saints had their break­through.

Gib­son’s clever pass found Reinach, who beat three tack­les to cross at the posts for his first try. Big­gar con­verted and on the stroke of the in­ter­val found touch with a penalty – but the hosts could not make the most of a golden op­por­tu­nity. N o r t h a m p t o n

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