Premiership: Newcastle Falcons 19-29 Bath

By Phil ShepkaBBC Sport
Bath celebrate
Sam Burgess (centre) played 60 minutes on his first-team debut at flanker
Newcastle Falcons: (13) 19
Try: Sinoti Con: Clegg Pens: Clegg 3, Catterick
Bath: (19) 29
Tries: Devoto, Rokoduguni, Watson, Banahan Cons: Ford 3 Pen: Ford

Bath moved up to second in the Premiership with a bonus-point win over lowly Newcastle at Kingston Park.

Bath took the lead through Ollie Devoto and Semesa Rokoduguni, but Sinoti Sinoti's solo try put Falcons 13-12 up.

The visitors, with rugby league convert Sam Burgess handed a first start at flanker, had a 19-13 advantage at half-time through Anthony Watson's score.

Matt Banahan crossed for the bonus-point try after the break before Burgess was replaced on the hour mark.

But they were made to work for their victory as the boots of Rory Clegg and Tom Catterick kept it interesting until the end.

The focus going into the game had been on former England rugby league star Burgess, who was moved from centre to blindside flanker for the first time, a position which Bath head coach Mike Ford believes to be the best long-term option for him.

The 26-year-old was involved heavily in a game punctuated by scrummaging, and was only denied a simple try when a Newcastle player knocked on Banahan's offload before he was taken off after 60 minutes.

A home away from home
Bath have now won on each of their last 10 visits to Kingston Park.

After a shaky start to the game in which they went behind after five minutes from a Clegg penalty, Bath went ahead.

Devoto crossed from George Ford's lay-off following some excellent counter-scrumming, while Rokoduguni was put in superbly by England centre Jonathan Joseph.

But following another Clegg penalty, the hosts took an unlikely lead when Sinoti skipped past four defenders to finish in the left-hand corner.

Bath, though, restored their lead when Devoto found a perfectly-cut line from full-back Watson, who duly obliged to cross.

Soon after the break, Banahan finished off a lovely move involving George Ford, Watson and Joseph to make it 26-13 and Ford sent over his third conversion.

Clegg and Catterick's penalties kept Newcastle in touch, but despite Carl Fearns' sin-bin Bath extended their lead when Ford added a penalty to lead his side to victory.

Ollie Devoto
Ollie Devoto scores the first try of the game at Kingston Park
Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess previously played at flanker for Bath's A team
Newcastle v Bath
Bath's Jonathan Joseph is challenged by Scott Lawson during the game

Newcastle: Hammersley; Harris, Powell (capt), Socino, Sinoti; Clegg, Tipuna; Vickers, Lawson, Brookes, Green, Thompson, Mayhew, Wilson, York.

Replacements: Tiesi for Powell (54), Catterick for Clegg (62), Takulua for Tipuna (69), G. McGuigan for Lawson (54), Orlandi for Brookes (72), Furno for Green (54).

Not Used: Fry, Robinson.

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Devoto, Banahan; Ford, Stringer; Auterac, Batty, Lahiff, Garvey, Day, Burgess, Louw (capt), Houston.

Replacements: Young for Stringer (69), James for Auterac (55), Webber for Batty (55), Palma-Newport for Lahiff (51), Attwood for Garvey (51), Fearns for Burgess (60), Faosiliva for Houston (75).

Not Used: T. Homer.

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