Newcastle 5 – 66 Northampton – rezal404

Alex Mitchell scored the first of Northampton's 10 tries against Newcastle on Friday night as the visitors ran out 66-5 winners at Kingston Park

Alex Mitchell scored the first of Northampton’s 10 tries against Newcastle on Friday night as the visitors ran out 66-5 winners at Kingston Park

Northampton Saints remain main in the hunt for a Gallagher Premiership semi-final place after easing past rock-bottom Newcastle Falcons with a 66-5 win at Kingston Park.

Two tries from Tom Collins, along with efforts from Alex Mitchell and Juarno Augustus offset an early Adam Radwan try for the home side and gave Saints a commanding lead at the break.

Further scores in the second half from Paul Hill, Fin Smith, a second from Mitchell, Sam Graham, Tommy Freeman and David Ribbans condemned Newcastle to their heaviest defeat of the season.

Saints must now wait and see if they will make the top four, with London Irish, the only side able to catch them, seven points adrift but with two games in hand.

Irish visit table toppers Saracens on Sunday, before concluding their regular season at home to Exeter Chiefs on May 6.

Story of the game

Northampton’s semi-final hopes were dented after just four minutes when a neat passage of play released Radwan for the hosts, who darted past his man and diverged over the corner flag.

But the Saints responded in kind in the eighth minute as Mitchell sidestepped an attempted tackle to breeze through and leave Smith the simplest of conversions.

Collins produced a moment of quality in the 16th minute, intercepting a pass before hacking the ball forward and outpacing two Falcons players to score in the corner, while he went over again on the half-hour mark for his 50th try in 145 appearances for the club following a TMO review.

Radwan was unfortunate soon after when a storming run down the right-hand side almost ended with a magnificent score, but a heroic challenge from Mitchell forced him into touch before going over.

Augustus breached the hosts’ defense on the stroke of half-time to earn a priceless bonus point for the away side, with Smith kicking his fourth conversion of the opening 40.

It was more of the same after the break as Hill powered over for the Saints’ fifth try of the night before Newcastle’s Mateo Carreras was sent to the sin bin for a no-arm tackle three minutes later.

He was duly punished as the visitors scored four tries in 11 minutes with Smith, Mitchell, Graham and Freeman the beneficiaries.

There was still time for Ribbans to bulldoze his way through to add an exclamation point to an emphatic Saints win, their third of the season over the Falcons.