Tom Vickers’ Newcastle Falcons v Saints view and player ratings

READY TO GO - Courtney Lawes will be fit to face Bath (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
READY TO GO - Courtney Lawes will be fit to face Bath (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Last time Saints departed Kingston Park, they did so nursing sore limbs and harbouring feelings of relief and regret.

They had sidestepped the potholes on what was then a mudbath of a pitch to claim three tries and four points back in February.

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004042009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004042009

The sense of relief came as Jim Mallinder’s men held out, staving off a late Falcons fightback to secure the 22-16 success.

The wave of regret stemmed from a failure to build on three first-half scores - two from James Wilson and one from Tom Stephenson - by claiming the bonus point.

On Sunday, it looked like history would repeat itself - albeit on a far slicker, 3G surface - as Saints skated in for three early tries before being pegged back in the second period.

However, this time there was no regret, just relief as George North popped up to score the prized fourth try with the clock ticking towards full-time.

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004032009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004032009

It was a crucial effort, not only for the simple fact it provided the extra point Saints’ scything first-half showing deserved, but for momentum, too.

Saints needed that to carry into the Bath game this Saturday.

Had they failed to complete the job they headed north to do, they would have been left feeling as grey as the Newcastle skies.

But thanks to North’s late score, they could reflect on a mission made possible.

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004022009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004022009

That is certainly what this weekend’s opponents will have done as they smashed Leicester to pieces in a 45-0 rout at The Rec.

Mike Ford’s men will be heading to Franklin’s Gardens full of belief.

So it was important for Saints not to see their mood altered by a slightly sloppy second-half effort.

Instead, the positives were flowing as the squad again flexed its muscles, with the likes of Jon Fisher and, in particular, Will Hooley stepping in and stepping up.

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004012009

Newcastle Falcons V Saints. NNL-140922-004012009

That will do their confidence the power of good this week and they will be chomping at the bit to go again this weekend.

After the defeat at Wasps a week earlier, this win was the perfect tonic.

And Saints didn’t even have to put their wellies on to earn it.

How they rated...


Saw Newcastle kick straight to him on several occasions during the first half and made them pay by gaining plenty of territory with some cutting runs... 7


Ran some nice lines and made the most of good work from Samu Manoa and Kahn Fotuali’i to grab Saints’ third score of the afternoon... 7


Tried to drive the team on, keeping them motivated with some noticeable cajoling and he was an important presence... 7


The England man set up North for the final try and made some huge hits to stop Falcons in their tracks... 7


Great work in the build-up to Saints’ first try and was lively throughout, keeping the home side on alert and eventually adding to their misery late on... 8


An accomplished performance from the youngster, who continues to show why the coaches believe he is more than capable of covering for Stephen Myler... 8


The Samoan was so slick during the first half, with his dancing feet helping to create Alex Waller’s try and also one for Ken Pisi... 8


Came into the team in place of Alex Corbisiero and once again produced the goods, grabbing a try for his efforts... 7


The captain was his typically determined self, driving Saints on with an energetic display that kept the Falcons on the back foot... 7


Gave away a penalty for a high tackle in the first half, but that was the only blot on his copybook as he showed an appetite to put himself about... 6


Made some big carries and some huge hits during his time on the field and Newcastle were glad to see the back of him when he went off... 7


Another understated but impressive display from the lock, who makes the tackles that need making and steers the team so well... 7


A big defensive performance from the flanker, who was in determined mood throughout and earned plenty of praise from Jim Mallinder... 7


Came into the side in place of Tom Wood and caught the eye with his physicality. An impressive first Premiership start for Saints... 7


Played a huge part in two of the three first-half scores, making crucial breaks that laid the foundations for others to finish... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

JAMES CRAIG (for Lawes 46)

Took Saints forward with some good carries and can certainly be pleased with a good cameo appearance... 7

LEE DICKSON (for Fotuali’i 56)

Helped lift the tempo at a time when Saints were starting to let it drop and completed the task he was sent on to do... 6

GARETH DENMAN (for Ma’afu 56)

Added some extra energy in the set piece and did his job defensively as Newcastle came back into the game... 6

PHIL DOWSON (for Clark 56)

A popular introduction as the Falcons fans have fond memories of the flanker and he did a steady job here... 6

DOM WALDOUCK (for G Pisi 58)

First league appearance of the season for the centre and he looked to really enjoy it, getting involved as much as he could... 6