Hooley shows class as Saints flay Falcons

STRONG START - Will Hooley's early try got Saints up and running at Newcastle (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
STRONG START - Will Hooley's early try got Saints up and running at Newcastle (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Will Hooley gave another example of his burgeoning promise as he scored 18 points to help Saints claim a bonus-point 35-10 victory at Newcastle Falcons.

Hooley stepped in at fly-half after Stephen Myler was forced to miss out with a calf strain and the 20-year-old was the catalyst for the Kingston Park success.

He got Saints off to a flying start with an early try and proceeded to pull the strings as they added two more scores before the break, through Alex Waller and Ken Pisi.

Newcastle, who had been alarmingly porous during the first half, fought back after the break and former Saint Noah Cato popped up to score.

But George North had the final say with just three minutes to go as Saints earned the bonus point they craved.

For Newcastle it was a 19th successive Aviva Premiership defeat and a ninth loss in a row to Saints.

Jim Mallinder’s men went into the game desperate to bounce back from the defeat at Wasps a week earlier, and they displayed their determination from the off.

It was all Saints in the first few minutes as Falcons continued to kick into the hands of Ben Foden and the full-back’s cutting bursts were causing the home team problems.

It was a sea of lime washing over Newcastle and they couldn’t hold out for long as Hooley burst through three tackles to score.

The No.10 added the conversion with aplomb from the left touchline and Saints had an early lead their strong start had merited.

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140921-163240009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140921-163240009

And they soon had three more points and a man advantage as Falcons No.8 Ally Hogg was binned for tackling a man without the ball, with Hooley landing the resulting penalty.

The fly-half was at it again soon after as another flowing move pushed the Falcons into offending on their own line, and Saints’ No.10 was accurate from the tee.

Saints were relentless and their offloading game had Newcastle in a spin, with North, Samu Manoa and Kahn Fotuali’i creating an opening for Waller to score.

Hooley missed for the first time in the match, but his side were cruising with an 18-0 lead accrued inside 15 minutes.

No Caption ABCDE NNL-140921-151631009

No Caption ABCDE NNL-140921-151631009

Falcons did get on the board soon after as Salesi Ma’afu was penalised for a high tackle and Juan Pablo Socino made him pay with a penalty from in front of the posts.

Hooley was quick to respond with a penalty at the other end though and it wasn’t long before Saints had a third try.

Manoa again walked through the Falcons rearguard, which was as static as the Angel of the North, and offloaded to Fotuali’i, who gave it to Pisi to score.

Hooley took the gap to a gargantuan 25 points and all that remained for Saints was to grab the bonus-point score.

Falcons emerged from half-time in determined fashion though and after winning a penalty at the scrum, attempted to put the pressure on from the lineout.

A string of phases later and Newcastle still couldn’t get over the line, with Saints defending like their lives depended on it.

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140921-162308009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140921-162308009

A penalty was finally won to relieve the pressure and Saints pushed on in pursuit of the extra point they desperately wanted.

But unlike during the first half, the Falcons were proving a tough nut to crack and there was to be a sharp shock for Saints as Cato picked up the ball and skated in for a score.

Socino converted and the home fans, who had stuck with their side throughout, finally had something worthwhile to cheer.

But North provided a happy ending for Saints, latching on to Luther Burrell’s pass out wide and turning on the turbos to score.

James Wilson put the icing on the cake with a well-struck conversion.

Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Cato, Powell, Socino, A Tuilagi (Sinoti 70); Godman Blair (Fury 54); Brookes, Lawson, S Wilson; Green, Barrow; Furno, Welch (c), Hogg.

Replacements not used: Hawkins, Rogers, Tomaszczyk, M Wilson, Mayhew, Tiesi.

Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi (Waldouck 58), Burrell, North; Hooley (Wilson 69), Fotuali’i (L Dickson 56); A Waller (Corbisiero 62), Hartley (c) (McMillan 69), Ma’afu (Denman 56); Lawes (Craig 46), C Day; Clark (Dowson 56), Fisher, Manoa.

Referee: Greg Garner

Attendance: 5,057

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140921-162257009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140921-162257009