A relentless display of physicality and dominance earned Bath Rugby a superb victory against Newcastle Falcons.
Sam Underhill and Zach Mercer got the visitors off to the perfect start inside 15 minutes, and following Trevor Davison’s score for Newcastle, Tom Dunn grabbed the first of his two-match tries.
Tom Penny brought Falcons back to within seven ahead of an authoritative second-half Bath performance.
First, prop Henry Thomas burrowed home for the all-important bonus point score before Dunn and Jack Walker completed a scintillating 80 minutes.
Falcons were awarded a late penalty try for their efforts on a day where Bath were ruthless from minute one.
Joe Cokanasiga stopped the home side attacking early on down the left, and as he has done so often for club and country, Underhill swooped straight in on the ball to win a penalty.
The England flanker’s hard work led to Stuart Hooper’s men moving up the field at a rampant pace, and a strong driving maul saw him dive over for the game’s opening try.
Foot on the peddle and one to 15 contributing in all aspects of the game, Bath didn’t let off and motored forward against the wind. The fleetfooted Tom de Glanville showing pizazz on his way to a half-century of metres gained in the first period.
While he danced the team on, the forwards hammered the Newcastle fringes, breaking them down with every pick until the unyielding pressure told and Mercer brushed the whitewash.
Falcons responded with ferocity and prop Davison squeezed under the sticks to their credit, though it proved to be their only moment of joy in the first 30 minutes as Bath regrouped and went again as one.
Controlling the match’s pace with patience and confidence, Bath continued to build and build to the point Newcastle struggled to cope with their intensity, and hooker Dunn proved the beneficiary.
Newcastle had their moments; Mateo Carreras proved a nuisance on the run, which presented the opportunity for full-back Penny to finish.
At 19-12, the scoreline could have gone in any direction, but the Blue, Black, and White ensured it went theirs with a strong show of unity and grit.
A strong set-piece allowed Thomas to crash his way to line for a deserved bonus point try and as the North East rain poured sideways through the gaps in the corners of Kingston Park, Dunn got his name on the scoresheet with the backs joining the forwards in helping the number two over.
His front-row counterpart Walker made an impact as a replacement, scoring in a similar fashion with scrum-half Ben Spencer, who played the field brilliantly all afternoon with precise kicking, adding the extras with a tough conversion considering the conditions.
Referee Ian Tempest awarded a penalty try for Newcastle with the clock in the red to provide the hosts with a consolation. However, that wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the men in Blue, Black, and White as they celebrated the Premiership debut of homegrown Senior Academy prop Arthur Cordwell, McConnochie's milestone and a hard-earned victory on the road.
15. Tom de Glanville, 14. Joe Cokanasiga, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Josh Matavesi, 11. Ruaridh McConnochie, 10. Tian Schoeman, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Juan Schoeman, 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Henry Thomas, 4. Josh McNally ©, 5. Elliott Stooke, 6. Miles Reid, 7. Sam Underhill, 8 Zach Mercer
Replacements: 16. Jack Walker, 17. Arthur Cordwell, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Tom Ellis, 20. Ethan Staddon, 21. Ollie Fox, 22. Max Clark, 23. Semesa Rokoduguni
15. Tom Penny, 14. Alex Tait, 13. George Wacokecoke, 12. Luther Burrell, 11. Mateo Carreras, 10. Brett Connon, 9. Sam Stuart, 1. Trevor Davison, 2. George McGuigan, 3. Mark Tampin, 4. Greg Peterson, 5. Darren Barry, 6. Gary Graham, 7. Philip van der Walt, 8. Callum Chick ©
Replacements: 16. Charlie Maddison, 17. Kyle Cooper, 18. Mike Daniels, 19. Sean Robinson, 20. John Hardie, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Joel Matavesi, 23. Cooper Vuna
13 March 2021
Referee: Ian Tempest
Half Time score: 12-19
- Tries: Davison (18), Penny (33)
- Conversions: Connon (19)
- Tries: Underhill (3), Mercer (12), Dunn (27, 54), Thomas (46), Walker (61)
- Conversions: Schoeman (13, 28), Spencer (55, 62)