Newcastle relegated as Sarries thrash Exeter
Newcastle Falcons suffered relegation from the Premiership on Saturday with defeat at Gloucester, while Saracens dismantled Exeter Chiefs at the summit.
The Falcons knew they could still stay up following Leicester Tigers' defeat to Harlequins on Friday but they would require two bonus-point wins in their final two matches.
And Newcastle never looked like delivering against Gloucester the following day as the home side ran out 28-19 winners.
The visitors made a fast start as Micky Young crossed for the first points after 10 minutes and Sinoti Sinoti then responded with a second Falcons try after Jason Woodward went over.
But two Gloucester tries in quick succession put paid to Newcastle's hopes as Charlie Sharples followed Danny Cipriani over to put the hosts in control.
The Falcons also saw Toby Flood and Calum Green each handed yellow cards late in the first half as Gloucester cruised.
Jamie Blamire offered a belated riposte for the visitors, but Matt Banahan's try sealed their fate, ending a six-year stay in the top flight.
FT: Gloucester 28 Newcastle Falcons 19, a result which confirms our relegation into the Championship. Thank you for your support throughout the season, and we will look to bounce back stronger.— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) May 4, 2019
Elsewhere, Exeter could have secured top spot against Sarries but instead bowed to a 38-7 humbling away from home.
Alex Lewington and Dominic Morris each scored twice as second-placed Sarries piled the pressure on their opponents heading into the last match of the regular season.
Meanwhile, Northampton Saints boosted their hopes of a play-off place by climbing back above Harlequins into fourth spot with a 38-10 demolition of Worcester Warriors.
A dominant first half saw Luther Burrell, Taqele Naiyaravoro (twice) and Tom Wood cross as Saints took control and never relinquished it.