Bath Rugby produced a ruthless display against Newcastle Falcons, running in eight tries for a 58-5 win that ensured director of rugby Todd Blackadder’s first Aviva Premiership Rugby fixture at the Rec will be one to remember.
Semesa Rokoduguni and Dave Attwood both scored twice, while a penalty try and further scores from Kane Palma-Newport, Matt Banahan and Elliott Stooke completed the rout.
Ally Hogg scored Newcastle’s only points of the afternoon, crossing three minutes from time in what was a forgettable display from the visitors.
Mike Delany passed up the chance to give Newcastle an early lead as he pulled a sixth-minute penalty – awarded for a high tackle of Sinoti Sinoti – wide of the posts from 40 metres out.
The visitors enjoyed some early territory but despite having a strong attacking platform inside Bath’s 22 on nine minutes, Zach Mercer produced a fantastic turnover to alleviate the pressure.
At the other end a knock-on from the Falcons in their own 22 saw Bath win a penalty at the scrum, allowing George Ford to get the game’s first points with a penalty.
A well-taken drop goal followed on 22 minutes from the England fly-half, who ignored numbers out wide to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Opting for the scrum with a free-kick the hosts earned another penalty, although this time Ford – who scored 18 points in total – was wayward with his effort.
The first try of the afternoon was not long in coming though, courtesy of some magic from Rokoduguni.
The wing broke from his own 22 before chipping forward and although covering defender Vereniki Goneva denied him the score, referee Ian Tempest awarded a penalty try with Goneva adjudged to have impeded Rokoduguni illegally.
Goneva also received a yellow card for his troubles and Bath duly made their man advantage count as they ran in three further tries before the break.
A superb interchange between Kahn Fotuali’i and Banahan out wide saw the latter break away out wide to score, Ford converting.
Rokoduguni was then in the thick of the action again, finishing off a great team try as Charlie Ewels drew the defender on the right wing before putting his teammate in to score.
And he had his second on half-time as this time Fotuali’i provided the assists – Ford missing the conversion though as Bath held a 32-0 lead after a dominant 40 minutes.
Bath picked up where they left off four minutes into the second half as Fotuali’i’s quick thinking after Newcastle had collapsed a driving maul saw the scrum-half feed Palma-Newport for the score.
Lock Attwood added Bath’s sixth try after Fotuali’i had found Mercer, who in turn provided the assist for Attwood – Ford missing the conversion.
And after Bath won a penalty from 5 metres out, Attwood was in the right place at the right time to grab his second of the game just after the hour – Ford’s conversion taking the score to 51-0.
Hogg scored in the corner to give Newcastle a small consolation score but birthday boy and debutant Stooke finished the scoring in the game’s final play.