Eleven points from Craig Willis and a late Zach Kibirige score ensured that Newcastle Falcons came from behind to down Bath Rugby at Kingston Park in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
A penalty each for Willis and Adam Hastings were the first half’s only scores, but Willis nudged Falcons in front with a penalty just after the break,
Jack Wilson ended the wait for a try ten minutes after half-time when he scythed through for an unconverted score, but Willis pulled Falcons back in front with another penalty on 60 minutes thanks to good work from Nili Latu.
Tom Homer snatched what looked like being the crucial second try for Bath thanks to a brilliant piece of handling from Max Clark, with Hastings converting.
But Kibirige burst through the visitors’ defence to take Falcons within a point of Bath, before Willis’ conversion took Dean Richards side to their second victory over Todd Blackadder’s side this season.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 4, 2017
An early knock on from Bath gave Opeti Fonua a chance to make his mark early doors, careering through a couple of tackles before losing the ball forward.
Despite a couple of notable Sinoti Sinoti contributions for Falcons, it was Scottish fly-half Hastings that grabbed the game’s first points when he thumped over a penalty from inside the Newcastle Falcons 22.
A sharp Mike Delany break put Craig Willis and Fonua into space moments later, but the break was stopped five metres short.
Willis though, pulled the hosts level with a penalty right on the stroke of half time before putting Falcons 6-3 ahead just after the turn.
Wilson got a breakthrough for Bath ten minutes into the second half, the winger bursting through Falcons’ defence and having more than enough pace to outstrip the cover defence.
Thank you to our visitors @bathrugby and wishing you a safe journey home.
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) February 4, 2017
The appearance of Latu with just under half an hour remaining was critical, the Tongan threatening at the breakdown and carrying well, earning Willis a shot at goal that he converted.
Ben Tapuai’s stellar defence put Bath back on the front foot three minutes later and centre Clark managed to get his hands free for a clever offload to Homer, who raced away for a second score.
Hastings’ conversion took Bath 15-9 ahead, but Kibirige had his say on 72 minutes after bumping through one tackle and racing clear.
Despite being hauled down before the line, the 22-year-old wing was able to touch down, with Willis on target again to seal yet another impressive win for Richards’ men at Kingston Park.
72′ | TRY! Some electric pace from Kibirige, who evades the last-gasp tackle from W Homer to score. Willis puts Newcastle ahead. 16-15
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) February 4, 2017