Newcastle wilt in the face of a late Joe Cokanasiga try double
A late Joe Cokanasiga try double helped Bath come from behind to beat Newcastle Falcons 30-25. Stuart Hooper’s men bounced back from last week’s narrow loss to league leaders Leicester Tigers with fly-half Danny Cipriani kicking ten points and Ewan Richards and Lewis Boyce also crossing the whitewash.
Newcastle took the lead at Kingston Park through George McGuigan’s try but despite ten points from the boot of Will Haydon-Wood and further tries from Connor Collett and Greg Peterson, the Falcons came up short in the Gallagher Premiership against Bath.
The opening try came after five minutes when a lineout 15 metres out was collected and driven up to and over the line with McGuigan getting his name on the scoresheet and Haydon-Wood missing the conversion.
Cipriani registered the first points for Bath with a simple penalty from in front of the posts after Collett was penalised for not rolling away. Haydon-Wood restored the five-point gap with his own straightforward penalty from ten metres out after Bath infringed at the breakdown.
The visitors levelled as Richards galloped over the line after collecting a long, looping pass to go over in the corner. Cipriani’s conversion attempt was blown off course to leave the scores level after 22 minutes.
The Falcons were denied a clear try after a clever kick in behind from Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti was almost gathered by Matias Orlando but the ball bounced off the padding of the post. However, Newcastle were not to be denied minutes later as Collett went over from close range following an attacking scrum; Haydon-Wood kicking the extra points.
The lead was extended with two minutes of the first half remaining. Haydon-Wood was on target with his penalty as Bath’s ill-discipline in the red-zone proved costly. With the final play of the half, Cipriani notched his second penalty of the match to make it a one-score game once more.
Bath had a good opportunity to get their second try seven minutes into the second half, Nathan Hughes breaking clear and offloading to Ben Spencer but the scrum-half knocked on with the tryline begging.
Bath drew level on 51 minutes as Boyce made an instant impact off the bench to crash over from close range and Cipriani was able to kick the extra two points. Hughes was sent to the sin-bin after direct contact from his shoulder to the head of Pete Lucock who had earlier replaced Orlando after he had taken a similar blow himself.
Newcastle made the most of their one-man advantage as Peterson barged his way over from a few metres out after a spell of pressure on the Bath line. Haydon-Wood converted to extend the lead. Bath responded and it was Cokanasiga who went over in the corner after a quick penalty had released Tom de Glanville down the right but Cipriani pushed his conversion attempt across the front of the posts.
Then Cokanasiga gave Bath their bonus point with only three minutes remaining as wave after wave of attacks on the left were repelled by the Falcons before play was switched to the right for the winger to score and Cipriani tamed the wind to add the extras and put some late gloss on the scoreline.
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