Saracens make winning start to title defence

England fly-half Owen Farrell's Saracens side made a winning start to their title defence

Saracens kicked off their defence of the English Premiership title with a 32-21 victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park on Sunday.

The champions were in danger of a shock defeat as Newcastle recovered from 17-9 down at half-time.

But Nick Tompkins' try with four minutes left was followed by Owen Farrell's conversion and late penalty, leaving the hosts without even the consolation of a losing bonus point.

Tries by Jamie George, two from Alex Lewington on his debut and Tompkins gave Saracens the bonus point win.

Newcastle's Toby Flood had kicked three penalties to keep his side in contention.

George was booed when he scored in the corner as there was a hint of obstruction and a poor grounding, but replays supported his case.

Saracens struck again when Goode and Alex Lozowski evaded two desperate tackles to send in Lewington for his first try, which was converted by Farrell right on half-time.

The Falcons moved up through the gears after the break and they forced Saracens on to the back foot enough for Mark Wilson to break straight through the middle of the ruck on the 22 for a 55th minute try.

Flood missed the straightforward conversion and Saracens made Newcastle pay five minutes later as a pass from Farrell found Lewington to score in the corner.

Tompkins was yellow-carded for a hand in the face of Flood in the 64th minute and Goode joined him with 10 minutes left for an illegal tackle on Simon Hammersley.

Newcastle went straight to the corner with the penalty and drove Wilson over for his second try.

But Saracens delivered the killer blow when Farrell fed Tompkins down the right to seal the win.