Premiership: Late Saracens try denies struggling Newcastle Falcons a bonus

Newcastle Falcons watch as Max Malins celebrates his Saracens try
Max Malins' try was a huge boost for Saracens as Newcastle threatened
Gallagher Premiership
Saracens (5) 26
Tries: Maitland, Malins, Tompkins, Lozowski Cons: Farrell 3
Newcastle (6) 12
Pens: Takulua 4

Saracens kept up the pressure on leaders Exeter with a comeback win against bottom side Newcastle Falcons, who were denied a precious bonus point.

Two counter-attacking Saracens tries from Sean Maitland and Max Malins in either half punished the Falcons.

Sonatane Takulua's goalkicking kept the visitors in the game, landing four of his shots from the tee.

However, Nick Tompkins' try from a maul and Alex Lozowski's final play score cruelly snatched away the bonus.

Sarries picked up their own bonus point with Lozowski's try, and edged closer to securing their top-four play-off place.

Three straight wins had given Newcastle real inspiration to avoid relegation from the Premiership this season, but this trip to a side now unbeaten in 20 games at Allianz Park was a step too far despite a bright performance.

That said, Dean Richards' side were well in the contest for long spells, and even led 6-5 at half-time thanks to the boot of Takulua.

Tries though were the key factor for Saracens and they had the strike needed to pick off Falcons - twice racing 80 metres to cross, while a ruthless finish was enough to secure their own bonus and in turn strip the Falcons of theirs despite concerns about a foot in touch by centre Lozowski.

Saracens were forced into a late change to their starting line-up with Welsh wing Liam Williams being replaced by Alex Lewington.

The club said it was a precautionary measure due to the Grand Slam winner complaining of a tight hamstring ahead of kick-off. Matt Gallagher took Lewington's place on the bench.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"We made nine changes from last week's win and the players have been on a mini-break to Austria so we've had a restricted training week.

"In the first half, we made a lot of mistakes and our execution was poor. Our handling errors were huge but fortunately our defence was very good.

"Owen (Farrell) said a lot of things at half time so we understood what needed to improve in the second half.

"We still continued to make errors but it was a bit more like it so I'm glad we found a way to win."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"We had three clear-cut try-scoring chances in 60 minutes and took none, they had three and took all of them.

"Our scrum was dominant for 50 minutes and our line-out functioned really well.

"We have to replicate this performance and effort next week but looking at Leicester's line-up today they are a very strong side. Mark Wilson has tweaked his back but he should be back for next week."

Saracens: Malins; Maitland, Lozowski, Tompkins, Lewington; Farrell (capt), Spencer; Barrington, Woolstencroft, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Rhodes, Burger, Earl.

Replacements: Tolofua, Adams-Hale, Lamositele, Isiekwe, Clark, Whiteley, Morris, Gallagher.

Newcastle: Tait; Goneva, Harris, Matavesi, Sinoti; Flood (capt), Takulua; Mulipola, McGuigan, Ah You, Olmstead, Green, Graham, Hardie, Chick.

Replacements: Cooper, Lockwood, Wilson, Robinson, Witty, Stuart, Connon, Dunbar.

Referee: Karl Dickson.

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