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Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam

Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

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'I've just said next door to the TV that I can't quite put a finger on it'

By PA
(Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)

Dave Walder cannot put his finger on what is wrong with Newcastle after seeing them fall to a 17-10 defeat against Bath.

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Adam Radwan’s acrobatic finish in the corner was cancelled out by Ted Hill’s drive from point-blank range to send the two teams into the break at 7-7.

Johann van Graan’s side took control after half-time, taking the lead through a Billy Searle penalty before Ollie Lawrence’s score gave the visitors a 10-point lead heading into the closing stages.

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Brett Connon converted a late penalty but it was not enough to stop Bath’s second win of the season and third in a row at Kingston Park.

And with the Falcons bottom of the reduced 11-team table, after Worcester and Wasps’ suspensions, Walder admitted he is not sure why his side are struggling to gel.

Walder said: “I’ve just said next door to the TV that I can’t quite put a finger on it.

“We as coaches got the last two weeks wrong in terms of what we’ve put into the players from a physical point of view – that’s something I’ll have to go away and look at as I thought our energy was a bit flat and that’s something we’ve been good at all year.

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“I thought our basics from the playing side of things weren’t what they needed to be, and conditions were tough.

“I thought we started the game pretty well but weren’t clinical, we had a couple of opportunities where I think if we’d managed to score or take the points, things might’ve been a little bit different.

“But we’ve made our decisions and put ourselves under pressure.

“In the second half, when things were going against us, again, a lack of basics really, really cost us.”

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Bath director of rugby Van Graan was delighted with his side’s performance after recording back-to-back Gallagher Premiership wins.

He said: “Yeah, I am very happy. It was not the best game of rugby but we managed the conditions pretty well, more specifically in the second half.

“Our game management was good once we went 10 points up, we played in the right part of the pitch and didn’t really give them entries.

“We had quite a few injuries – if you lose both of your wingers (Ruaridh McConnochie and Gabriel Hamer-Webb) and you make a change at 10 pretty early and (replacement Billy Searle) gets injured, that’s a lot of reshuffling in the backline – but we managed that well.

“It’s our first away win of the season and a huge step in the right direction.

“I think to be fair both teams tried to play, it is just a lot of areas on this 4G pitch were wet which makes the ball wet.”

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