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Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 17-31 Northampton Saints

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Tom Collins crossed three times for the visitors in the first half
Gallagher Premiership
Newcastle (3) 17
Tries: Ah You, Takulua Cons: Takulua 2 Pen: Takulua
Northampton (24) 31
Tries: Collins 3, Mitchell Cons: Biggar 4 Pen: Biggar

Newcastle Falcons’ relegation fears deepened as Northampton Saints held off a second-half revival from the hosts to go fourth in the Premiership.

Three first-half tries from an inspired Tom Collins gave play-off hopefuls Saints a 24-3 lead at half-time.

Newcastle hit back after the break through Rodney Ah You and Tane Takulua.

But Alex Mitchell went over late on to seal the win for Saints and leave the Falcons seven points adrift at the bottom with just two games to go.

The defeat means Newcastle could be relegated by the end of the weekend, if results go against them, ending their six-year stay in the top tier.

It also guaranteed survival for last season’s promoted side, Bristol Bears, who now cannot be caught by Dean Richards’ men.

A victory for 10th-placed Leicester Tigers on Saturday at home to Bristol, coupled with a win for 11th-placed Worcester at home to Gloucester on Sunday, would send the Falcons down.

And even if those results go their way, Newcastle, who were semi-finalists last season, must then beat both Gloucester (4 May) and Bristol (18 May) to have any hope of survival.

But for Saints, who are now one point above fifth-placed Harlequins, their resilient performance galvanised their ambitions of competing in next month’s play-offs.

Newcastle: Hammersley, Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti, Flood, Takulua, Mulipola, McGuigan, Ah You, Green, Davidson, Chick, Wilson, Nagusa.

Replacements: Cooper, Lockwood, Davison, Robinson, Graham, Young, Swiel, Williams.

Northampton: Tuala, Collins, Hutchinson, Burrell, Naiyaravoro, Biggar, Reinach, van Wyk, Marshall, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Lawes, Gibson, Wood, Harrison.

Replacements: Ma’asi, Waller, Franks, Coles, Onojaife, Mitchell, Grayson, Kellaway.

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