Farrell's boot leaves Falcons on brink
Newcastle 3 Saracens 9
Saturday 21 April 2012
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)
Mayweather-Pacquiao: Ricky Hatton, Mike Tyson, Ronda Rousey and more make their predictions
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and still qualify for the Champions League
Kyle Walker video: Tottenham defender categorically denies 'disgusting' rumours on Facebook
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia