Bath kick off Premiership with Newcastle victory

Semesa Rokoduguni has extended his contract with Bath

Bath kicked off the 2013/4 Aviva Premiership with a 0-21 victory over Newcastle Falcons at a wet and muddy Kingston Park in the North East of England.

Newcastle were handed a harsh lesson on their return to the English Premiership
as Bath romped to victory in the opening game of the season on Friday.

George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion for Bath, with Anthony
Perenise crossing the line from a rolling maul and a late penalty try sealing
the win, as the home side failed to master difficult conditions that saw wind
and rain lash Kingston Park.

The match marked the return of Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards to
the top flight for the first time in four years, after he navigated Newcastle’s
promotion at the first time of asking following a three-year worldwide ban in
the wake of the Bloodgate scandal at Harlequins.

Friday’s game was under some scrutiny following the introduction of new scrum
laws in the Premiership, which are being trialed in the northern hemisphere
this season.

It was a difficult first test on a windy and soggy night in the north east,
and there were some early teething problems as the first two scrums of the night
took more than a minute apiece to set, with the almost immediate collapse of
one and the other resulting in a quick penalty to Bath.

Debutant Ford kicked the visitors into a seventh-minute lead, before play was
held up to a serious-looking injury to Newcastle’s Jamie Helleur.

There was a six-minute delay to allow Helleur to be strapped to a stretcher
and carried from the field.

Ford’s long-range kick into the driving rain three minutes before the break
ensured the visitors had a 6-0 half-time lead and, just before the break, an
injury to Kyle Eastmond saw summer signing Gavin Henson brought off the replacements
bench for his debut.

Despite the poor conditions, Ford’s kicking remained exemplary and he landed
his third penalty from three attempts.

After Dave Attwood won the line-out, Perenise crossed the line from a rolling
maul to increase the lead further.

Former Leicester stand-off Ford’s kick hit the upright, but the visitors powered
forward again and were awarded a penalty try, with the conversion adding the
final points.

Final Score Newcastle 0 (0) Bath 21 (6)

Scorers

Newcastle
Tries –
Pen –
Con –
Drop –

Bath
Tries – Perenise, Penalty
Pen – Ford 3
Con – Ford
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee
: Wayne Barnes (124th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe & Paul Dix. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

Newcastle Falcons:

15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Franck Montanella, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Carlo del Fava, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Dom Barrow, 7 Andy Saull, 8 Ally Hogg (c)

Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Scott Wilson, 18 Gary Strain, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Chris York, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Adam Powell

Bath

15. Anthony Watson , 14. Semesa Rokoduguni , 13. Jonathan Joseph , 12. Kyle Eastmond , 11. Matt Banahan , 10. George Ford , 9. Peter Stringer , 1. Paul James , 2. Rob Webber , 3. David Wilson , 4. Stuart Hooper ( c ) , 5. Dave Attwood , 6. Matt Garvey , 7. Mat Gilbert , 8. Leroy Houston

Replacements :16. Ross Batty , 17. Nathan Catt , 18. Anthony Perenise , 19. Dominic Day , 20. Alafoti Fa’osiliva , 21. Micky Young , 22. Gavin Henson , 23. Tom Biggs

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