Newcastle Falcons 21-32 Saracens, Kingston Park
Alex Lewington scored a double as Saracens kick-started their Gallagher Premiership title defence with a 21-32 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday.
The win has taken Saracens to the third position in the table as they are among the three teams to seal a bonus point victory in the opening round of the competition after Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins.
Newcastle Falcons started the game positively and exerted pressure on Saracens as a result they managed to win two penalties in the first 10 minutes that was kicked perfectly by Toby Flood. to take them to a 6-0 lead.
An infringement at the set-piece saw Owen Farrell kick a penalty goal in the 12th minute to reduce the difference to three points and three minutes later a combination of Jamie George and David Strettle saw the British and Irish Lions hooker go over the line. Farrell's conversion took the visitors to a 6-10 lead.
A third penalty kick from Flood in the 34th minute reduce the arrears to just one point but Lewington, who replaced Sean Maitland in the 25th minute made an impact just before half-time with a 40th minute touchdown as the teams headed into the break with a 9-17 scoreline. It was also Lewington's first try on his debut for Saracens.
Newcastle Falcons showed better intent in the second half as Mark Wilson scored the first of his two tries in the 53rd minute but his efforts were negated by a response from a second from Lewington in the 61st minute as Saracens maintained their eight point lead.
As the final quarter started, Mark McCall's men suffered a double setback as they were reduced to 13-men temporarily when Nick Tompkins and Alex Goode were sin-binned in the 64th and 70th minutes respectively and the Falcons made use of the numerical advantage with Wilson dotting down his second try in the 71st minute and Flood followed it with the conversion to reduce the gap to one point.
However, the defending champions held their nerve when it mattered with Nick Tompkins touching down in the 76th minute and Farrell followed it with a conversion and a penalty to complete a 21-32 victory.
It's a familiar name at the top of the #GallagherPrem table as @ExeterChiefs lead the way after Round 1 ????— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) September 2, 2018
There's still plenty of rugby?? to be played this season but here's the full league standings?? pic.twitter.com/uLoxEtiuzk
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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