Premiership: Northampton 38-13 Newcastle - Saints stay top after routine Falcons win

Tom James
Tom James scored his second try in three Northampton games as he started in place of England scrum-half Alex Mitchell

Gallagher Premiership

Northampton: (19) 38

Tries: Lawes, Penalty, Matavesi, James, Sleightholme, Augustus Cons: Savala 3

Newcastle: (13) 13

Tries: Radwan Cons: Johnson Pens: Johnson 2

Northampton Saints went into the Six Nations break top of the Premiership after beating bottom side Newcastle Falcons 38-13.

Saints - who were missing seven players on England duty - led 19-13 at the break as Courtney Lawes and Sam Matavesi added to a penalty try as Adam Radwan responded for Newcastle.

Tom James' try sealed a Northampton bonus point after the break.

Newcastle missed three good chances to score before Ollie Sleightholme and Juarno Augustus added to Saints' tally.

It means Northampton open up a seven-point gap at the top of the table - although that gap could be cut should Exeter Chiefs win at Saracens later on Saturday.

It was a 12th successive league loss for Falcons this season and a 15th in a row going back to March.

It was the final game under the interim stewardship of Micky Ward, before former Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond takes over as consultant director of rugby on Monday.

More to follow.

Northampton: Hutchinson; Hamer-Webb, Odendaal, Litchfield, Sleightholme; Savala, James; A Waller, S Matavesi, Davison, Mayanavanua, Munga, Lawes, Ludlam (capt), Graham.

Replacements: R Smith, Haffar, Millar Mills, Moon, Augustus, Scott-Young, Braley, J Matavesi.

Newcastle: Obatoyinbo; Radwan, Moroni, Hutchison, Stevenson; Johnson, O'Sullivan; Brantingham, Byrne, McCallum, Hawkins, de Chaves, Lockwood, Pepper, Chick (capt).

Replacements: van Vuuren, Brocklebank, Bello, Cardall, Bainbridge, Stuart, Jennings, Carreras.

Sin-bin: Lockwood (22), Jennings (80).

Referee: Sara Cox.