Eight tries to Newcastle Falcons' one and a promising start from several of their debutants saw Bath Rugby continue their strong start to the 2016/17 season, beating the visitors 58-5 at the Rec.
Falcons spent near enough the first ten minutes of the match inside Bath's half, but a stirring turnover by debutant number eight Zach Mercer inside his own 22 signalled the beginning of Bath's dominance.
The backs in Blue, Black and White burst into life as a Falcons player knocked on as a result of a painful-looking sandwich tackle by Matt Banahan and Jonathan Joseph. The spilled ball found its way to Semesa Rokoduguni, who not only burst his way out of the grasps of two would-be tacklers, but out of his 22 and up to halfway to give the visitors an early scare.
Shortly thereafter, a Falcons knock-on in the visitors' 22 allowed Bath to turn the screw at the scrum and win a penalty. George Ford claimed the first points of the match from out on the right. 3-0.
Ten minutes later, Ford picked up where he had left off at Franklin's Gardens the previous weekend, slotting a beautiful drop goal to make it 6-0.
Rokoduguni, seeking to add further thrills to his portfolio in the match, went on a scything run from his own 22, almost crossing for a try but for a questionable intervention by another Fijian, fellow wing Vereniki Goneva. Goneva was shown yellow by the referee for illegal handling of the ball and Bath, given a penalty try, breathed slightly easier as Ford added the two points. 13-0.
Incredible interplay between scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i and Matt Banahan down the left wing was the making of Bath's next score, as the Jerseyman sneaked up the left wing to gather the gentlest of kicks over the top from the Samoan and score under the posts. Ford took the score to 20-0 from in front of the posts.
Next it was Charlie Ewels, this week playing on the blindside - and with four minutes left in the half - who took possession of the ball down the right wing, drawing the last man and feeding Rokoduguni for Bath's fourth and bonus-point try. Ford was this time unable to make the conversion. 25-0.
With 40 minutes on the clock, Bath were looking dynamic in the Falcons 22, and that energy was promptly rewarded as Fotuali'i found Rokoduguni on the wing for his second try. There was an eruption of applause for Ford as he topped off the winger's touchdown with a laser-like accuracy in his touchline conversion.
HALF TIME: Bath Rugby 32-0 Newcastle Falcons
Bath had achieved the try bonus point before half time, but proved in the 46th minute that it wasn't going to stop there as Kane Palma-Newport wrestled his way over from close range to touch down. Ford converted the tighthead's effort. 39-0.
Little time had passed before Dave Attwood, benefiting from some snappy passing from Fotuali'i and a quick Mercer offload, crashed over for the try. Ford missed the difficult conversion. 44-0.
Entering the final 20 minutes of the match, Attwood made it a brace of tries as the Falcons defence, penalised in their 22, were caught napping and the England lock tore through the defence with ease. Ford was back on song with his conversion. 51-0.
To prove it wasn't all one-way traffic, Falcons' replacement back row, Scottish international Ally Hogg, scored an unconverted try in the right corner with four minutes to go. I
t was just as swiftly cancelled out, however, as one of Bath's own replacements, lock Elliott Stooke - on debut and on his birthday - scored with less than a minute left on the clock, with Ford's successful conversion being the final act of a rousing match from Bath Rugby.
FULL TIME: Bath Rugby 58-5 Newcastle Falcons
10 September 2016
Referee: Ian Tempest
Half Time score: 32-0
- Tries: Banahan (31), Rokoduguni (35, 40), Palma-Newport (45), Attwood (49, 64), Stooke (79)
- Conversions: Ford (29, 31, 37, 46, 66, 80)
- Penalties: Ford (13)
- Drop goals: Ford (21)
- Tries: Hogg (75)