Premiership: Newcastle 0-21 Bath

Anthony Perenise scored a try to help Bath to an opening-night victory at Premiership newcomers Newcastle.

It meant a losing return for coach Dean Richards in his first top-flight game since his three-year ban for his role in the fake blood injury incidents.

A night of driving rain made conditions tough, but two George Ford penalties gave Bath a six-point half-time lead and he added another after the break.

Perenise then went over, followed by a penalty try, to seal Bath's win.

Bath opened last season with victory at Worcester , but it proved to be their only win on the road throughout their Premiership campaign.

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, with Adam Powell brought on as a replacement.

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.

Newcastle looked much brighter after the interval, but a break upfield from the scrum - thanks to Andy Saull opening up Bath's defence - was stopped after a pass to Danny Barnes went to ground.

Despite the poor conditions, Ford's kicking remained exemplary and he landed his third penalty from three attempts - this time from 28 yards.

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 of the night.


Newcastle: A. Tait; Cato, Barnes, Helleur, Catterick; Godman, Blair; Montanella, Vickers, Brookes, Del Fava, MacLeod, Barrow, Saull, Hogg (capt).

Replacements: Powell for Helleur (9), Strain for Brookes (56), M. Wilson for Del Fava (56). Not Used: McGuigan, S. Wilson, York, Fury, Hodgson.

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Banahan; Ford, Stringer; James, Webber, Wilson, Hooper (capt), Attwood, Garvey, Gilbert, Houston.

Replacements: Henson for Eastmond (39), Young for Stringer (55), Catt for James (52), Batty for Webber (52), Perenise for Wilson (52), Day for Hooper (53), Faosiliva for Gilbert (66). Not Used: Biggs.

Attendance: 7,000

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).