Anglo-Welsh Cup Wrap - Saints win as Gloucester overturn deficit

Lewis Ludlam of Northampton Saints drives forward during the Anglo-Welsh Cup match between Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints. Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Northampton Saints' experimental side - featuring one debutant and three first-time starters in their initial XV - claimed a deserved 24-16 victory in their opening Anglo-Welsh Cup fixture against Newcastle at rain-soaked Kingston Park.

A 76th minute try by centre Rory Hutchinson ultimately sealed a 24-16 victory for Saints, after a 68th-minute score by Newcastle captain Alex Tait and conversion by home fly-half Mike Delany had cut their lead to 19-16.

Northampton had been in the driving seat with a 38th-minute try by England Under-20 winger Tom Collins, plus four penalties and a conversion by fly-half Sam Olver. Newcastle's only other points had come courtesy of three Delany penalties.

Harlequins battled to a 29-15 win over Exeter Chiefs to go top of pool 3 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Two second-half tries from Charlie Walker and debutant Luke Jones alongside 10 points from the boot of Nick Evans were enough to see the London club home.

Aaron Morris put Quins 8-0 up after 15 minutes, before a James Short hit back for the visitors shortly after.

Evans had given the home side a 9 point lead just after the break, but Exeter hit back through a Joe Simmonds penalty followed by a try from Elvis Taione to edge ahead.

A yellow card for Taione on the 60 minute mark proved the turning point, as Harlequins capitalised on the man advantage to run in a further two tries and pull away from the Chiefs for the victory.

Gloucester overturned a 20 point half-time deficit to beat Saracens 36-32 in an enthralling contest in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Kingsholm.

Tongan international David Halaifonua was the hero for the home side as he scored the match-winner in the 79th minute, adding to another try early in the second half.

Saracens were in cruise control at half-time with a 25-5 lead, after a brace from former Gloucester academy player Tom Griffiths on his debut for the London club.

Gloucester fought their way back into the contest as Dan Thomas, Henry Purdy and Halaifonua scored to take the score to 25-24 as the match entered the final quarter.

Saracens extended their lead to eight points after a try from Tom Whiteley on debut, but the cherry and whites hit back with a penalty try.

The hosts looked to have blown their chance to win when a penalty attempt hit the upright, but Halaifonua's late score completed a memorable comeback.

Bristol are still searching for their first win of the season as their losing run was extended to 10 games after a 31-25 Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat at Worcester on Friday.Despite leading 13-5 at the break, two yellow cards for Jack Wallace and Rob Hawkins just after the restart proved the turning point.

Max Stelling and Josh Adams both crossed twice for the Warriors with Michael Dowsett also going over and Jamie Shillcock added three conversions.

Giorgi Nemsadze, Tom Varndell and Wallace scored tries for Bristol with Billy Searle converting two and adding two penalties.

Leicester the Anglo-Welsh Cup with 21-20 victory over Bath. First-half tries by Luke Hamilton and George Catchpole and 11 points from the boot of Freddie Burns put them in control until Bath threatened to steal the game late on. Their tries came from wings Jack Wilson, Jeff Williams and replacement Dan Bowden.

Josh Charnley made his rugby union debut to help Sale Sharks defeat Wasps 17-13 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The 25-year-old, signed from Super League champions Wigan Warriors, started on the bench as the Coventry outfit went into the break 8-7 in front thanks to a Guy Thompson's try and Connor Eastgate's penalty.

Sale's response in the first half came through Mark Jennings' score before Sam Bedlow's touchdown eight minutes into the second period gave them a 14-8 advantage.