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Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 24 Bath Rugby 22

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06:  Vereniki Goneva of Newcastle Falcons runs for the try line during the Aviva Premiership match between Newcastle Falcons and Bath Rugby at Kingston Park on January 6, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards gave credit to the belief and resilience of his players as they came from 22-10 down to beat Bath Rugby.

Two late tries, one each from Mark Wilson and Ben Harris, sealed a late comeback for the Falcons and moved them into sixth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

For Bath it was their third league defeat in a row, despite a pair of tries for Semesa Rokoduguni to take him second on the club’s all time try scorers list.

And Richards said the turnaround was all down to the leaders on the field and the vocal home support.

“I didn’t say much at half-time, the players were saying it themselves and you don’t have to say anything when they do that,” he said.

“The players have to take a lot of credit themselves. We leaked a couple of soft tries but this side does have belief to go out there and come back and win a game.

“The crowd were outstanding, especially that last five minutes, the players came in afterwards and said the crowd carried them through.

“We knew it was going to be nip and tuck because they are a really good side. The boys had belief and really stuck at it.

“We went 12 points down and just went for it. They showed a lot of courage to do that and come back against a side like Bath.”

Bath remain fourth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and had taken the lead early in the second half when George Ford ran in under the posts.

That was followed up by two tries for Rokoduguni who surpassed Iain Balshaw on the Bath’s try scorers list and is now only behind Matt Banahan.

But director of rugby Todd Blackadder was left to rue soft errors which cost his side – who had been 12 points to the good going into the final ten minutes.

“I think it’s being really clinical at the right time,” he said. “The ability to do the basics well under a  lot of pressure, you can’t take the ball into contact and be turned over and giving away penalties.

“You have to get the simple things right because if you don’t you certainly pay for it.

“Newcastle are a good side, they never gave up, we certainly had a good chance to get control of the game but were put under pressure and those little passes didn’t go to hand.

“You make few mistakes in this competition you really pay for it.”

Newcastle Falcons 24
Tries: Goneva, Wilson, Harris
Cons: Hodgson 3
Pen: Hodgson

Bath Rugby 22
Tries: Ford, Rokoduguni 2
Cons: Ford 2
Pens: Ford

Newcastle Falcons: Tait, Agulla, Waldouck, Socino, Goneva, Hodgson, Takulua (Young, 63), Vickers (Harris, 69), Lawson (Sowrey, 63), Welsh (Ryan, 63), Green, Olmstead (Witty, 63), Wilson, Welch, Fonua (Robinson, 44)

Bath Rugby: Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Tapuai (Fruean 54-63, Priestland 63-73), Brew, Ford, Allinson (Cook 61), Catt (Obano 64), Dunn, Lahiff (Knight 69), Stooke, Charteris, Ellis (Garvey 8, Walker 77), Louw (Grant 69), Z Mercer.

Referee: Greg Garner
Attendance: 6, 042

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