Falcons rise to the occasion at St James' Park
Newcastle Falcons boosted their hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premiership with a 25-22 victory over Northampton Saints at St James' Park on Saturday.
A club record crowd of 30,174 attended the fixture at the home of Newcastle United, with the high-flying Falcons wearing a black-and-white striped kit to mark the special occasion.
Northampton scored three tries but a lack of discipline scuppered their hopes of an upset, Toby Flood kicking six penalties while also adding the conversion after winger Vereniki Goneva raced over.
Boosted by the return of their Six Nations stars, Saracens marked the first Premiership fixture at the London Stadium with a 24-11 win over London rivals Harlequins.
Toby Flood running the show pic.twitter.com/qq7ZihPq0s-- Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) March 24, 2018
Liam Williams and Maro Itoje touched down in the first half as the hosts opened up an 18-6 lead at the midway stage of the capital clash.
While James Horwill responded with a try for Quins, a pair of second-half penalties from Alex Lozowski saw Sarries to victory in front of a sell-out crowd of 57,000.
Sale Sharks scored eight tries as they thrashed lowly Worcester 58-25 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Denny Solomona crossed for the 11th time in the Premiership season, leaving him one behind with Josh Adams - who touched down twice in a losing cause for the Warriors - at the top of the try-scoring charts.
With 11th-placed Worcester losing, bottom club London Irish closed the gap to their nearest rivals in the standings despite a 33-29 defeat away at Gloucester.
In their first game since the appointment of Declan Kidney as technical consultant, Irish burst out to a 17-0 lead but eventually had to settle for two bonus points in a losing cause, leaving them 10 adrift of the Warriors with just four games remaining.