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Northampton’s Luther Burrell puts match beyond spirited Newcastle

• Northampton 39-31 Newcastle
• Falcons’ Tom Catterick conjures fightback against Saints

The Premiership leaders were duly made to work hard for this win, especially in the first 50 minutes of the match, at which point Ben Foden and Ken Pisi took advantage of loose tackling to put Calum Clark over and give Saints a 15-point lead. Thereafter the result was not really in doubt, but in the first half, and in the final 20 minutes, the visitors demonstrated the extent to which they are an improved side this season, especially with ball in hand.

After Northampton’s epic 14-man victory over Leicester, and equally sustained effort to beat Harlequins despite having only around 25% share of possession, their director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, will have spent part of the run-up to this game ensuring his players understood the importance of not falling off the pace against a side who arrived second from bottom of the table after losing four of their previous five league matches.

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