Falcons end Gloucester's home run
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Newcastle Falcons saw off a late Gloucester comeback to end the hosts’ unbeaten home record with their fifth win on the road in the Premiership.
Tries from Alley Hogg and Michael Young were enough to see off the Cherry and Whites, who witnessed their first defeat of the season at Kingsholm.
Gloucester threw everything at Falcons, with scores from Jason Woodward, David Halaifonua, Mark Atkinson and a 77th minute try from Lewis Ludlow to secure the bonus-point loss.
But Billy Twelvetrees failed to convert the final try, leaving the hosts a point short of a dramatic victory.
Meanwhile, Denny Solomona scored a first-half hat-trick as Sale Sharks won at Northampton Saints for the first time in 12 years.
The Sharks had lost on their past nine visits to Franklin's Gardens but a superb first-half showing that saw Solomona run riot and Marland Yarde also register a try, left the Saints shell-shocked.
Northampton did eventually respond after the break with Michael Paterson, Rob Horne and Heinrich Brüssow scoring, but it was too little, too late, despite two Sale sin-bins.
Gloucester 20-21 Newcastle Falcons
Joel Hodgson opened the scoring with a penalty after two minutes, but the hosts responded through fullback Jason Woodward, who put an inch-perfect grubber kick down the left touchline to run onto and score.
Gloucester piled on the pressure but Falcons took the lead against the run of play, as Michael Young wriggled free of his tackler and slipped through the defence to offload to an oncoming Hogg for their first try.
Hodgson slotted two more penalties before half-time to send Falcons eleven points up at the break.
Johan Ackermann's men came out with a point to prove in the second half and after some powerful bursts from Jake Polledri, Woodward made space for David Halaifonua down the left, who bulldozed his way over Simon Hammersley to cross the whitewash.
Only moments later Falcons hit back, as Young dummied a pass out on the left wing and raced through a gap to dive over and restore their eleven-point lead.
The hosts ramped up the intensity with 20 minutes left and their efforts were rewarded, throwing bodies into the ruck and drawing in the Falcons defence to create space for Mark Atkinson to run over.
In an attempt to retain their home record, Gloucester camped themselves in Falcons' red-zone and Lewis Ludlow rumbled over from a driving maul to cut the gap to a single point with four minutes to play.
But Twelvetrees pulled his conversion wide and Falcons saw out the game to become the first team to win at Kingsholm this season in the Premiership.
Tries: Woodward, Halaifonua, Atkinson, Ludlow
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Hogg, Young
Pens: Hodgson 3
Yellow card: David Halaifonua (Gloucester, 24)
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 David Halaifonua, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Marshall.
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Ally Hogg, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Will Witty, 20 Callum Chick, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Maxime Mermoz.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace, Steve Lee
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Northampton Saints 25-34 Sale Sharks
Saints staff and supporters had worked together to clear snow from the ground to get it on and when it did Sale started strongly.
After Ben Foden was bundled into touch five metres from his own line, the Sharks set up a move that was eventually finished by Denny Solomona wide on the right.
Faf de Klerk and Piers Francis exchanged penalties before Sale responded with a fine score, with wing Marland Yarde starting a move that was finished by Solomona.
Francis cut the deficit slightly with another Northampton penalty, but Sale refused to relent and Solomona registered his hat-trick try after being released by de Klerk.
The scrumhalf kicked the conversion and then set up a fourth Sharks with his box kick booted ahead by Yarde, who gathered to dot down.
However, Northampton flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half, with lock Paterson scoring two minutes after the restart while Jono Ross was sin-binned for Sale.
Northampton were suddenly looking like a totally different side and they scored again after a fine pass from Francis found Rob Horne on the right.
De Klerk landed another penalty but Northampton would not give up and Heinrich Brüssow scored his first Saints try nine minutes from time but it was too little too late.
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Paterson, Horne, Brussow
Cons: Francis 2
Pens: Francis 2
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Solomona 3, Yarde
Cons: De Klerk 4
Pens: De Klerk 2
Yellow cards: Jono Ross (Sale Sharks, 42); Mike Haley (Sale Sharks, 54)
Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Heinrich Brüssow, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Christian Day (captain), 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Ken Pisi
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison (captain), 12 Luke James, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Sam James, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Byron McGuigan, 23 Josh Charnley.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson, Roy Maybank
TMO: Sean Davey