Rugby Union: Naylor displays international quality

Newcastle 37 Northampton 12

Newcastle have hardly put a foot wrong since Rob Andrew arrived on Tyneside to seal the bargain he struck with Sir John Hall to take the club to the top. For the time being they are only on top of the Allied Dunbar Premiership First Division on points difference, but in reaching this milestone Newcastle consistently wrongfooted Northampton, who found no answer to the dynamism of the rampant Newcastle pack, in which their Samoan flanker Pat Lam was outstanding.

Northampton conceded five tries and never looked as if they could construct one for themselves in a game full of movement, vigour and determined running.

Saints were never able to offer a defence as unbreachable as Newcastle's or match the finishing power of James Naylor. It is 21 months since Newcastle last lost at home in the league, and if they continue to play like this, it will be some time before they do so again.

Northampton's coach, Ian McGeechan, said: "This was a game we had to dog out. At 13-12 we looked as if we might just do it. But we needed to be more competitive at the breakdown and in the second half we were never there, nor deserved to be when we were consistently conceding 15 metres or so at the tackle. To be fair to Newcastle, they played very well, and gave us all sorts of problems."

It was the youngest of Newcastle's seven Lions, Tim Stimpson, who got the show rolling in front of a near-capacity crowd of 6,900 at Kingston Park with a second-minute penalty to take him to 100 points for the season. Eventually, he extended that to 112 with three conversions and two more penalties.

In the second quarter, as Newcastle relaxed after Gary Armstrong had darted down the left flank for a sparkling try, Saints briefly raised themselves with a dropped goal by Gregor Townsend and three Alastair Hepher penalties, but that was as far as Saints were allowed.

Newcastle's growing authority was spearheaded by Lam, and from one of his bursts, Armstrong transferred to Andrew, who put Naylor into the right corner.

Having originally chosen Naylor in his squad of 77, the watching England coach, Clive Woodward looked a mite sheepish when Naylor burst on to Armstrong's pass for his second. At 25-12, Saints were staring at a hefty defeat, and tries by Lam and Nick Popplewell buried their slender hopes of respectability.

Newcastle: Tries Naylor 2, Lam, Popplewell, Armstrong. Conversions Stimpson 3. Penalties Stimpson 2. Northampton: Penalties Hepher 3. Dropped goal Townsend.

Newcastle: T Stimpson; J Naylor, V Tuigamala, A Tait, J Bentley; R Andrew, G Armstrong; N Popplewell, R Nesdale, P Van-Zandvliet, G Archer, D Weir, P Lam, R Arnold (P Walton, 20), D Ryan (capt).

Northampton: A Hepher (H Thorneycroft, h-t); N Beal, A Northey, M Allen, B Cohen; G Townsend, M Dawson (capt); M Volland, A Clarke, M Stewart, J Phillips, M Bayfield, D Mackinnon, B Pountney, S Tatupu.

Referee: T Spreadbury (Bristol).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower