Premiership: Bath 32-33 Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle
Newcastle trailed 32-19 going into the last 15 minutes
Aviva Premiership
Bath (10) 32
Tries: Banahan, Rokoduguni, Ewels, Joseph Cons: Priestland 3 Pens: Priestland 2
Newcastle (19) 33
Tries: Takulua, Vickers, Van der Merwe, Harris, Wilson Cons: Takulua 2, Hodgson 2

Newcastle scored twice in the last 15 minutes as they came from behind to edge past Bath in a nine-try thriller.

The home side trailed 19-0 after just 17 minutes at the Rec as Sonatane Takulua, Rob Vickers and debutant DTH van der Merwe went over for Falcons.

But Matt Banahan, Semesa Rokoduguni, Charlie Ewels and Jonathan Joseph's tries for Bath put them 32-19 ahead.

However Chris Harris' score gave the visitors a chance and Joel Hodgson converted Mark Wilson's try to win it.

It is the first time Falcons have won in Somerset since October 2009, with Bath losing at home for only the second time in 2017.

Victory moves Dean Richards' side level with Premiership leaders Saracens after three wins from their opening four matches, while it is a second defeat for Bath.

It could have been even more convincing for Newcastle, as Chris Cook had a try disallowed for straying in touch and Juan Pablo Socino was denied a score by a knock-on.

Bath coach Todd Blackadder had to cope without Freddie Burns, who had been set to make his first start for the club he supported as a boy after joining from Leicester but he was ruled out with a lead leg, prompting Banahan to move to full-back and Aled Brew to fill in at wing.

Canada skipper Van der Merwe profited from a skilful, low grubber kick from fly-half Craig Willis to score on his Falcons bow, while overlooked England duo Rokoduguni and Joseph proved their worth with solo second-half scores.

Their efforts only earned Bath two bonus points though, as Newcastle - beaten in Philadelphia by Saracens last time out - remain unbeaten in England since 15 April.

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"I never, ever look at where we are [in the table] at this moment in time. I'll look at it at the end of the season when there are 22 games in the bag and see where we are then.

"We threw the subs on with 20 to go and they produced the goods. It's not a squad of just 15 players now. It's a squad of 35-40 good players who can just turn it on for us when we need it.

"We knew, coming back from Philadelphia, how tight a group they are. They do everything together. Whatever happens they'll fight for each other, which is ultimately what happened."

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder:

"It's just not good enough. Missed tackles, no physicality, one-off running and getting turned over. We were compounding error after error. We're better than that. I know we are.

"At 32-19 it was really simple. We had the game in the bag but we continued to play and make simple errors, letting them back into the game.

"It's so disappointing because that is not what we set out to do."

Bath: Banahan; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Clark, Brew; Priestland, Cook; Auterac, Walker, Perenise, Charteris, Stooke, Ewels, Louw (c), Grant

Replacements: Dunn, Obano, Andrews, Phillips, Mercer, Allinson, Tapuai, Lewis

Newcastle: Hammersley; Goneva, Harris, JP. Socino, Van der Merwe; Willis, Takulua; Vickers, S. Socino, Welsh, Green, Witty, M. Wilson, Welch (c), Latu

Replacements: Lawson, Mavinga, Davison, Robinson, Hogg, Stuart, Hodgson, Josh Matavesi

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

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