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Match report: Bath Rugby 32 Newcastle Falcons 33

23 Sep 2017
Match report: Bath Rugby 32 Newcastle Falcons 33

Five-try Newcastle Falcons resisted a second-half fightback to edge a thrilling match at the Rec, their first win at the ground since October 2009.

Dean Richards’ side stretched into a sizeable first-half lead with tries from Sonatane Takulua, Rob Vickers, and a first Newcastle try for DTH van der Merwe.

Bath responded through Matt Banahan, Semesa Rokoduguni, Charlie Ewels and a blistering effort from Jonathan Joseph.

But the Falcons flew back into the game with Chris Harris’ try, and Joel Hodgson’s conversion from Mark Wilson’s late score sealed Newcastle’s third win of the campaign.

The Falcons were ahead after just eight minutes when Santiago Socino, on his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start, made a searing line-break before offloading to the livewire Takulua.

Five minutes later veteran prop Vickers burrowed over to double the Falcons’ advantage, with Takulua adding the extras.

The visitors’ third try came from Canada’s record try-scorer van der Merwe, who dotted down in the corner following Craig Willis’ sublime corkscrew kick.

Bath responded through club stalwart Banahan, who powered over the line after a now trademark midfield break from centre Max Clark.

Newcastle led 19-10 at the break, but after the restart a loose pass fell, quite unfortunately for Newcastle, to Rokoduguni who put on the afterburners to round Nili Latu.

Minutes later a delayed pass from Rhys Priestland put Joseph through a hole, and he offloaded to Ewels who crashed over next to the posts.

And Joseph soon got his name on the scoresheet with a superb try, collecting from a quick-tap and jinking his way to the line from his own half.

Harris ran-in for Newcastle’s bonus-point try, and Wilson got their fifth from close range, with Hodgson holding his nerve to get the all-important final conversion.