Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 24-22 Bath Rugby – Falcons fightback sinks Bath

  • Vereniki Goneva’s converted try gave the Falcons a 7-3 lead at halftime
  • Tries from George Ford and Semese Rokoduguni (2) saw Bath take the lead
  • Late tries from Mark Wilson and Ben Harris secured the dramatic late victory
Newcastle Falcons started 2017 in dramatic fashion, Ben Harris’ late try and Joel Hodgson’s conversion earning them an Aviva Premiership victory over Bath.

The Falcons trailed 22-10 in the final 10 minutes, but forwards Mark Wilson and Harris both bundled over after relentless pressure with Hodgson converting both.

Powerhouse winger Vereniki Goneva’s early try had given Newcastle a 7-3 half-time lead.

Second-half tries from George Ford and two from Semesa Rokoduguni built a 22-10 lead for Bath before the late drama.

MATCHACTION

The Falcons, who beat Bath 19-14 in the corresponding fixture 12 months ago, took only three minutes to open the scoring as powerhouse winger Vereniki Goneva brushed off two defenders to dot down between the posts. Joel Hodgson then added the simple conversion, 7-0.

George Ford, at the third attempt, reduced the deficit from in front of the posts, but the Falcons would have been the happier of the two sides, leading 7-3 after a rather uneventful opening 40.



A looping pass was almost intercepted by Goneva after the restart, but it found Ford who scored for the visitors unchallenged under the posts. The England man then made no mistake with the conversion to give Bath a three-point lead.

Semesa Rokoduguni then had the strength to keep his momentum and finish in the corner despite the attentions of Goneva before Ford once again successfully added the extras, 7-17.

The gap was reduced to seven points when Hodgson fired over a penalty for the hosts on the hour but it was short-lived as Rokoduguni crashed over for his second and Bath’s third of the half a minute later.

Nevertheless, Ford continued to be hot and cold from the tee as he missed the conversion before hitting the post with a failed penalty attempt as Newcastle sat 12 points down going into the final 10 minutes.

It didn’t prove enough though as Falcons again managed to turn the game around. Their second try came from Wilson, who had ball in hand under a mountain of bodies to ground, with the conversion closing the gap to five.

And that deficit turned into a lead as Harris had the final say after a drive from close to the line. That try took them level before Hodgson’s conversion put the home side two up, a lead they maintained until the final whistle as 2017 began with a bang.

LINE UPS

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Witty, 20 Sean Robinson, 21 Michael Young, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Fred Burdon
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Robbie Fruean
Date: Friday, January 6
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Keith Lewis
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