Match Centre: Gallagher Premiership: Northampton 38-13 Newcastle

Courtney Lawes scored the opening try for Northampton Saints
Courtney Lawes scored the opening try for Northampton Saints

Northampton 38-13 Newcastle, cinch Stadium @ Franklin's Gardens

Northampton consolidated their position at the top as they defeated Newcastle Falcons 38-13 in the latest round of the Gallagher Premiership at cinch Stadium @ Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

This is ninth win for the Saints in 12 matches as they now have 44 points while Newcastle continue to languish at the bottom of the table after their 12th consecutive defeat.

Louie Johnson kicked a penalty goal from the tee in the 7th minute to start the proceedings for the Falcons before the Saints bounced back with former England captain Courtney Lawes forced his way over the line in the left corner for their third try of the season and Charlie Savala improved to make it 7-3.

The Falcons struck back in the 17th minute as Elliott Obatoyinbo sent a perfect offload to Adam Radwan to touchdown and Johnson followed with the conversion to make it 7-10 but their momentum took a beating as Newcastle's Freddie Lockwood intervened from an offside position sending him to sin bin and also resulted in a penalty try for the hosts.

A second penalty goal from Johnson brought down the deficit down to one point but Northampton bounced back at the stroke of half time as Sam Matavesi rumbled over at the back of a rolling maul but Savala missed out on the conversion as the teams completed the opening half with a 19-13 scoreline.

After the first 10 minutes went without a point in the second half, the Saints claimed the bonus point as Savala sent a perfect offload for Tom James to touchdown and Savala's conversion meant they extended the lead to 26-13.

With no response from the Falcons, Northampton completed their fifth try with Savala and Hutchinson combining to send Ollie Sleightholme over the line and Juarno Augustus also followed the suit in the 75th minute to complete a 25 point victory for the hosts.

Team line up:

Northampton: Hutchinson; Hamer-Webb, Odendaal, Litchfield, Sleightholme; Savala, James; A Waller, S Matavesi, Davison, Mayanavanua, Munga, Lawes, Ludlam (capt), Graham.

Reserves: R Smith, Haffar, Millar Mills, Moon, Augustus, Scott-Young, Braley, J Matavesi.

Newcastle: Obatoyinbo; Radwan, Moroni, Hutchison, Stevenson; Johnson, O'Sullivan; Brantingham, Byrne, McCallum, Hawkins, de Chaves, Lockwood, Pepper, Chick (capt).

Reserves: van Vuuren, Brocklebank, Bello, Cardall, Bainbridge, Stuart, Jennings, Carreras.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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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