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Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 23 Newcastle Falcons 14

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards admits that his side did not deserve anything from their Aviva Premiership Rugby match against Bath after Gavin Henson inspired his side to a 23-14 win at the Recreation Ground.

Richards watched on as his Falcons succumbed to their first defeat in three Aviva Premiership Rugby matches thanks in part to a near perfect performance from the boot of 32-year-old Henson.

The Welsh fly-half kicked his side into the lead with a drop goal on 27 minutes but the visitors responded when Mark Wilson forced himself across the line for the opening try and Juan Pablo Socino converted.

But the hosts fought back with a rare try from captain Stuart Hooper before Jonathan Joseph dotted down on 52 minutes and Henson converted both.

Sinoti Sinoti crossed over late on to give Bath a scare but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Henson kept his cool to kick over two penalties and condemn Newcastle to their fifth league defeat of the season, much to the disappointment of Richards.

"Our scrum didn't function and we gave four or five needless penalties away which cost us and that was disappointing,” he said.

“If you do that then you probably don't deserve anything out of the game.

"We missed nine points with the boot and there were two tries that went begging.

"We wanted something out of the game. We didn't get it and that's the disappointing thing."

With England head coach Stuart Lancaster having called up many of Bath's first team, Mike Ford was forced into making a string of changes and the stage was set for Joseph to continue his fine start to the season as he dotted down for his sixth try in seven matches.

And head coach Ford insists that Joseph should be joining Bath team-mates Semesa Rokoduguni and Kyle Eastmond for the England international against Samoa next weekend, even if it rules him out of Bath's trip to London Irish.

"Jonathan has great feet and the ability to make a break and score tries,” he said.

“He’s a talented player but it’s just about the way that England look at things. In my time at England we were a bit conservative and picked teams to try to not lose instead of picking a team to win. But you’ve got to score points.

“This was a good result for us against Newcastle and an important one too.

"Last year we were in the top four but never in the top two. After seven games now we are there and thereabouts with Northampton and Saracens.

“The next two games are crucial for us in terms of the Premiership."

Bath Rugby: Arscott; Woodburn, Joseph, Devoto, Banahan; Henson, Young (Cook 69); Catt (Auterac 59), Batty (Dunn 76), Thomas (Palma-Newport 65), Hooper, Day, Ewels (Garvey 59), Sisi (Northcote-Green 76), Houston
Replacements not used: Ellis, Lane
 
Newcastle Falcons: Hammersley; Sinoti, Tiesi, Powell (Clegg 55), Tuilagi; Socino, Tipuna (Blair 65); Vickers (Rogers 59), McGuigan (Lawson 40), S Wilson (Tomaszczyk 36), Green, Barrow, Robinson (Hogg 47), Saull, M Wilson
Replacements not used: MacLeod, Tait
 
Sin bin: Socino 64
 
Scorers
 
Bath Rugby
 
Tries: Hooper, Joseph
Conversions: Henson 2
Penalties: Henson 2
Drop goal: Henson
 
Newcastle Falcons
 
Tries: M Wilson, Sinoti
Conversions: Socino, Clegg
 
Referee: Ian Tempest
Attendance: 12,877

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