Director of rugby Todd Blackadder believes Semesa Rokoduguni’s eye-catching display prompted Bath Rugby’s ruthless try-scoring streak against Newcastle Falcons.
A trademark blistering Rokoduguni break paved the way for Bath to score the first of eight tries against the Falcons, who were downed 58-5 at the Rec.
The England wing crossed twice himself as a penalty try, two scores from Dave Attwood and efforts from Kane Palma-Newport, Matt Banahan and Elliott Stooke made for a fruitful afternoon.
And Blackadder, who was taking charge of his first Aviva Premiership Rugby clash at the Rec, insists both Rokoduguni’s wilful running and the crowd were inspirational.
“I’m just so pleased for our players. It was fantastic,” he said.
“It was a great atmosphere. The support here is unbelievable. You just feel the passion and commitment to the team. The support we got today was amazing. Long may it continue.
“When he [Rokoduguni] saw the opportunities he really went for it. That inspired our guys. Dave Attwood was one of our best too.
“We’ll celebrate and enjoy this tonight, a fantastic performance. It’s great weather and the boys probably deserve a few quiet beers – and so they should.”
While Rokoduguni was a standout performer on the day, Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards admitted it was the display of England fly-half George Ford that really made the difference.
Ford kicked 18 points from the tee but also his decision making and passing were quite brilliant as Bath put away a number of sweeping team moves.
And although his side were vastly outplayed Richards believes the performance was not representative of what they can achieve this season.
“George Ford was by far the best player on the field. He was outstanding,” said Richards.
“To capitulate in the way we did in the 10 minutes after that was poor from our point of view, the inability to react to it. So in that respect we’ve got to take it on the chin.
“They’re a big side, absolutely massive. We struggled with that. We had nothing to lose in the second half but it took us until the last few minutes to break them down. We had opportunities but didn’t take them.
“We’re far better than we looked. We had gone through pre-season unbeaten, which we hadn’t done before and beat Sale last week.
“So we came down here on a bit of a high and got a wake-up call. Having said that, it’s not going to be easy at home to Leicester next week.”