Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 16 Bath Rugby 15
Dean Richards heaped praise on his resilient Newcastle Falcons side after Zach Kibirige’s late try guided them from six points down to beat Bath Rugby for a second consecutive Anglo-Welsh Cup win.
Despite being outscored two tries to one, Falcons had kept touch with Todd Blackadder’s men had kept touch thanks to the boot of Craig Willis.
Willis pitched in with three penalties, while Jack Wilson and Will Homer crossed for Bath’s tries, but it was flyer Kibirige’s 74th-minute try that put Falcons back into contention, with No. 10 Willis adding the finishing touches from the tee.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 4, 2017
And Falcons – who also came from behind to beat Bath Rugby in Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 13 – left their boss Richards happy that his side are developing the knack of winning ugly.
“Yes, it was a bit scrappy but we’ll take the win,” he said. “It’s probably the first time for a long time we’ve played badly and won. I was really pleased with that.
“It does wonders for the teams’ confidence when you can come back from six points down and win it. There were a lot of the lads coming back from injury and who hadn’t played for a while so it was always going to be scrappy but we went out there and turned in a winning performance.
Today’s man of the match Fred Burdon
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) February 4, 2017
“The side don’t give in, they love playing with each other and like being in each other’s company. The club is in a good place just now.
“Nili Latu was immense in the contact area today. We knew he would have an impact coming off the bench and he didn’t disappoint us or the crowd.”
A big thank you to those that made the trip to Newcastle. See you next Friday back at the Rec for the visit of @SaintsRugby
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) February 4, 2017
Blackadder’s side were held to a draw by Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm last weekend thanks to another late try, but the New Zealander refused to condemn his men as they prepare to return to league action.
“I thought my boys played pretty well,” he said.
“The first half was pretty average to be honest – one for the purists I guess – but the second half saw a bit more rugby played.
“To get ourselves into a good position with 15 minutes to go and then lose – let’s say some of those decisions were very interesting.
“It’s just too frustrating and you have to be careful not to say something stupid. If that had been an Aviva Premiership game with something on the line, it just shows you how something like that can affect the outcome.
“Let’s say I was just very disappointed with the last 15 minutes.”
Pens: Willis 3
Tries: Wilson, W Homer
Referee: Dewi Phillips
Bath Rugby: Davies (Atkins 61); Williams, Clark, Tapuai, Wilson; Hastings, Cook (W Homer 61); Obano (Marfo 52), Walker (van Vuuren 65), Knight, Douglas, Ellis (Stooke 40), Sisi, G Mercer (c), Denton (Grant 64)
Subs not used: Nixon, T Homer
Newcastle Falcons: Delany (Penny, 51, Catterick, 63), Kibirige, Reynolds, Burdon Sinoti, Willis, Egerton; Brocklebank, Sowrey, Ryan (Foster, 60), Botha (Davidson, 40), Young, Orr, Holmes, Fonua (Latu, 51).