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Steve Diamond faces the media after grim day for Newcastle Falcons

By PA
Ollie Spencer of Newcastle Falcons stands dejected after his side concede a twelfth try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bristol Bears and Newcastle Falcons at Ashton Gate on April 21, 2024 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Newcastle boss Steve Diamond admitted his team “did not get off the bus” after they suffered a crushing 85-14 Gallagher Premiership defeat against Bristol at Ashton Gate.

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While Bristol surged into the play-off positions, Newcastle were left to reflect on a 15th successive league loss of the season.

“I thought we had taken a couple of steps forward over the last month, but that was certainly a step back. It gives us a line in the sand,” Falcons’ consultant director of rugby said.

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“We never touched the ball for the first 15 minutes and they were 21 points up. We didn’t get off the bus at all. It was not a positive vibe.

“All we can do is take them back home and get them ready for Sale next week.

“I said when I came back in that we would have three or four games and I would be making decisions, and that is what we will do.

“It’s a tough world out there and we are obviously not up to it in certain areas, which was evident today.

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Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Bristol
85 - 14
Full-time
Newcastle
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“It is 15 (Premiership) games without a win so it is very difficult to have any positivity in the building when you keep losing every week.

“We have been close in the last couple of weeks and today it looked like a completely different team. Bristol were outstanding today – they would probably have put 25-30 points on anybody in the league – and it is a tough learning day.”

Bristol reeled off a fifth successive Premiership victory as they moved into fourth spot with three regular season games left.

Pat Lam’s team scored more than 50 points for the third home game in a row, posting a club-record Premiership win as they ran in 13 tries.

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They claimed seven first-half touchdowns – Siva Naulago, James Dun, Max Malins, Magnus Bradbury, James Williams, Ellis Genge and Benhard Janse van Rensburg all scored – with fly-half AJ MacGinty adding six conversions.

Further tries followed in the second period for Harry Randall, Kieran Marmion, Jake Heenan, Virimi Vakatawa (2) and Van Rensburg’s second – Williams kicked three conversions and Van Rensburg one – while Newcastle posted scores from wing Adam Radwan and fly-half Brett Connon, who also added two conversions.

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Bristol’s remaining three Premiership fixtures are Leicester away, Saracens at home and Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop, but they are a team with momentum and could take some stopping.

Lam said: “I am really pleased for the whole squad. Everyone is pushing hard, everyone understands their roles.

“It was a good day. The players were ruthless in terms of getting their jobs done for the team.

“We have put a real emphasis back on our skills, our mindset, our teamwork and being fearless. When I look around the place, the boys are enjoying themselves.

“The table means nothing until the last round is finished, which is when it counts. Now we go to Leicester and if you get a win there, it is always cherished.”

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D
Diarmid 9 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

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