Vunipola returns as Saracens beat Newcastle

Billy Vunipola could return for England's Six Nations games against Scotland and Ireland
Aviva Premiership
Newcastle (6) 27
Try: Waldouck, Goneva, Wilson Cons: Takulua, Delany 2 Pens: Takulua 2
Saracens (18) 35
Tries: Rhodes, Lozowski 2, Ashton, Earle Cons: Lozowski 2 Pens: Lozowski 2

England number eight Billy Vunipola returned from injury as Saracens secured a bonus-point win at Newcastle.

Tries from Michael Rhodes, Alex Lozowski and Chris Ashton put Sarries 23-6 up early in the second half before Dominic Waldouck replied for the hosts.

Lozowski's second and Nathan Earle's score made it 35-13 but Newcastle rallied late on, with converted tries from Vereniki Goneva and Mark Wilson.

Vunipola could now feature in the rest of England's Six Nations campaign.

The 24-year-old, capped 32 times, had been out of action since November with a knee injury, but completed 72 minutes at Kingston Park on his comeback.

Defending Premiership champions Saracens were in complete control when Vunipola came off, but two late tries gave Newcastle hopes of a losing bonus point and a bonus point for scoring four tries.

The Falcons eventually fell short, suffering their 17th consecutive defeat by Saracens in all competitions - a run stretching back to 2009.

Sarries move a point behind second-placed Exeter Chiefs, boosting their hopes of a home semi-final in the play-offs.

Newcastle: Tait; Goneva, Waldouck, Socino, Sinoti; Hodgson, Takulua; Vickers, Cooper, Welsh, Green, Olmstead, M Wilson, Welch, Latu.

Replacements: Lawson, Harris, D Wilson, Hogg, Chick, Egerton, Delany, Harris.

Saracens: Taylor; Ashton, Bosch, Barritt, Maitland; Lozowski, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, Brits, Figallo, Rhodes, Hamilton, Wray, Conlon, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Saunders, Barrington, Du Plessis, Flanagan, Brown, Spencer, Malins, Earle.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.

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