Premiership: Bath 12-19 Newcastle Falcons: Gary Graham double helps visitors to victory

Charlie Ewels (right) tackles Adam Radwan
Bath's Charlie Ewels (right) was sin-binned for a high tackle on Adam Radwan
Gallagher Premiership
Bath (7) 12
Tries: Cokanasiga, J Matavesi Cons: Priestland
Newcastle (12) 19
Tries: Graham 2, Stevenson Cons: Connon 2

Newcastle marked their Premiership return with an impressive win at Bath.

The hosts led when Cameron Redpath's stunning offload put in Joe Cokanasiga to score, but two Gary Graham tries gave Falcons a 12-7 half-time buffer.

Josh Matavesi levelled for Bath after a free-flowing move but Ben Stevenson slid over in the corner to put the visitors seven points clear.

Bath had Charlie Ewels sin-binned for a high tackle and could not build enough pressure to avoid a poor defeat.

Dean Richards' Newcastle had not played a competitive fixture since March - when the Championship campaign was ended early because of coronavirus - but were still battle-hardened enough to get the better of a Bath side that finished fourth in 2019-20 after fine form following the season restart.

Cokanasiga was on the wing after being released from England duty and finished for the opener after a patient build-up, and Bath had another try ruled out for a knock-on as they started brightly at The Rec.

Quick thinking got the Falcons off the mark as Adam Radwan took a quick lineout for Graham to score in the corner, and the number eight doubled his tally after a tap and go from five metres out.

Newcastle fly-half Brett Connon had a testing first half on his Premiership debut, missing his opening three kicks at goal, but switched play for Stevenson to go over before converting from the touchline.

Ewels saw yellow for head-on-head contact in a tackle on Radwan before Tom Penny made a great last-man tackle on Cokanasiga to ensure Bath went away with just a losing bonus point.

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper:

"To lose in the manner we did was massively disappointing. From a performance point of view it was unacceptable.

"I don't think it's a hangover. It's the start of a new season, the guys have had a rest and then two weeks' prep. I just think it was a poor performance on the day.

"This has happened to us and it's important that we recognise that. As staff and players, we cannot accept what happened out there today. We'll head down to Exeter next weekend ready to go. We have to be better than we were today."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"The one thing you can't be, if you're not a team of superstars, is disorganised. For us it's important that we have that clinical edge, that we are relentless in what we do.

"As we said beforehand, it doesn't matter if they score first or get two tries early on, we've just got to keep going and stick to our processes.

"We were at a disadvantage but we knew that and if we were organised we'd give ourselves an opportunity. Actually we left three or four tries out there and 14 points off the boot. Bath are a good side and we caught them cold."

Bath: De Glanville; McConnochie, Redpath, Josh Matavesi, Cokanasiga; Priestland, Spencer; Boyce Walker, Thomas, McNally (capt), Spencer, Williams, Reid, Mercer.

Replacements: Batty, Schoeman, Judge, Ewels, Bayliss, Chudley, Clark, Rokoduguni.

Newcastle: Penny; Radwan, Burrell, Flood, Stevenson; Connon, Young (capt); Davison, McGuigan, Mulipola, Peterson, Fuser, Robinson, Collett, Graham.

Replacements: Blamire, Brocklebank, Tampin, Farrar, Basham, Stuart, Hodgson, Lucock.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU).

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