Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 12-19 Bristol Bears

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 12-19 Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears may have fallen short of the top six but their season ended with a flourish and the break of a 12-year record in Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

Three tries saw Pat Lam’s side beat relegated Newcastle Falcons 19-12 to move to 51 points across the season – the highest a newly-promoted side has mustered since 2007.

The excellent Charles Piutau got the first while Piers O’Conor and the departing Jack Lam made it 19-0 to the home side by the hours mark at Kingston Park.

But Newcastle, to their credit, fought back and ended a disappointing season with something to cheer as Gary Graham and Johnny Williams crossed in the closing stages.

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MAN OF THE MATCH

From the word go Charles Piutau was at the heart of everything good from Bristol Bears’ attacking rugby.

It took just ten minutes for the former All Black to get a try, making the most of some stunning switch play from the backs after the forwards had done all the hard graft in making the score.

But he was far from done there, helping centre Piers O’Conor bag the Bears’ second after the break, a timely offload key as his experience shone through in a tight encounter.

TRY OF THE MATCH

The season has not been a good one at Kingston Park but Newcastle Falcons – semi-finalists 12 months ago – showed they are still a good team.

Indeed they finished with a flourish and Johnny Williams’ score was testament to that, finishing off a counter-attack move after Bristol had eyed up a bonus point.

Rebuilding is required in the North East but should they get that right, the Falcons could be a Gallagher Premiership Rugby club once again in the near future.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

As one of his side’s most popular figures, Jack Lam was deserving of a nice send-off.

And he duly got it with a try in the second half having come off the bench, rumbling over for Bristol’s third at a time when Heineken Champions Cup rugby was still a distinct possibility.

He’ll be missed at Ashton Gate but is likely to have plenty more rugby ahead of him.

WHAT THEY SAID

Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards: “Bristol were a side going for the top six and we are a side already relegated.

“We made plenty of line breaks but didn’t finish them. That’s the story of our season.

“They are a good side and they have got two or three really good players and they make a big difference. They were all out on the field.”

Pat Lam, Bristol Bears head coach: “The boys have done fantastically well this season, we missed so many chances in that game and created so much, just weren’t there in our execution.

“But to reflect on the whole season, we’ve done a wonderful job. Everyone thought we would come into this game looking to stay up but we’ve done that three weeks ago and I’m very proud.

“I’m pleased but not satisfied, we’ve made a lot of progress with guys who are new to Premiership rugby, and the beauty of next year is that they get another go with experience under their belts.”

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