Newcastle Falcons are celebrating after sealing their place in next week’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals in Bath.
Sweeping aside Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints under the lights at Franklin’s Gardens, the Falcons are back in the big time with a bang.
Hosts Northampton were first in line for the Kingston Park outfit with the large majority of the 9,000 plus crowd right behind the Saints.
The Falcons spoilt the party however, running in four tries to secure a bonus point win and ensure the perfect start for coaches Calum MacRae and Mark Laycock.
Tom Catterick and Michael Tait got Newcastle off to a flying start before veteran Saint Paul Diggin pulled one back for his side. Skipper Richard Mayhew, who lifted the trophy in 2011, stretched the Falcons’ lead further, racing half the length of the field, but two quick-fire Tom Collins tries put the home side in front with less than a minute remaining. Backs against the wall, the Tyneside club would not be defeated and a last gasp Simon Hamersley touchdown snatched victory.
Newcastle continued the winning feeling in their second match with a 19-10 win over Leicester thanks to a Harrison Collins double and a Catterick score. 19-0 up at half-time the Falcons conceded two second-half tries, but ultimately left themselves with too much to do.
In the final match of their Group B campaign Newcastle made it a clean sweep with a 12-5 triumph against Sale. Joel Hodgson and captain Mayhew crossed the whitewash to give their side the edge over the Greater Manchester club.
The Falcons go into the finals alongside Worcester Warriors, Gloucester Rugby and Group B runners-up Leicester.
Coach Calum MacRae said: “I’m very pleased for this group of players, some of the young guys really stepped up to the mark tonight.
“The only expectation going into the competition was that we were going to work hard for each other.”