Farrell's boot leaves Falcons on brink

Newcastle 3 Saracens 9

Kingston Park

Saracens clinched a place in the Premiership semi-finals with a brutal victory. Three penalties from the boot of Owen Farrell took Saracens into second place in the table while Jimmy Gopperth's solitary strike gave Newcastle a crucial losing bonus point in front of a crowd of 8,011 – the Falcons' biggest of the season.

The home side had chances to win the game at the end and Saracens were hanging on but that bonus point cut the gap at the bottom of the table between Newcastle and Wasps to three points ahead of Wasps' visit to Bath. Saracens lost England centre Brad Barritt with a leg injury during the warm-up, with Farrell moving to No 12 and Charlie Hodgson coming in at fly-half. There was little to choose between the sides by half-time, with Farrell landing just one of three kicks at goal.

But it was a half that Saracens dominated against some determined Newcastle tackling. An offside in the 11th minute gave Farrell his first opportunity but he was short from 45 metres.

Hodgson kept up the pressure with a little dink through but the ball ran into touch and Saracens moved into the lead when Jon Golding failed to roll away in the tackle and Farrell slotted the penalty in the 18th minute.

The referee made a big call in the 32nd minute, deciding Newcastle had wheeled the scrum, but Farrell hit the post with the penalty. Another wheeled scrum gave Farrell the chance to make it 6-0 four minutes into the second half. Gopperth was short with a penalty when the scrum went down but did make it 6-3 in the 53rd minute after a late hit by Will Fraser.

Farrell restored the six-point gap when he made it 9-3 in the 64th minute when the Newcastle scrum went down. The home side had chances when Justin Melck was sin-binned near the end. After James Fitzpatrick nearly made it through, the last three minutes saw the Falcons spurn a kick at goal to go to the corner.

Newcastle: Goosen; Uys, Helleur, Fitzpatrick, Shortland; Gopperth, Stringer; Golding, Vickers (Thompson, 69), Murray (Hall, 72), Hudson, Swinson, Hogg, Welch (Wilson, 64), Balding. Replacements: Shiells, Goode, Tu'ifua, Pilgrim, Catterick.

Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Wyles, Hodgson, Short; Farrell (Tagicakibau, 67), De Kock (Wigglesworth, 51), Gill, Brits, Stevens (Nieto, 53), Borthwick, Kruis ( Botha, 51), Wray, Fraser (Melck, 55) Joubert. Replacements: George, Vunipola, Cowell,

Referee: JP Doyle (RFU)

Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch