AVIVA Premiership: Newcastle’s return to the Aviva Premiership was dealt an early blow last night as they lost 21-0 to Bath on a dismal night under the lights at Kingston Park.
George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion for Bath, with Anthony Perenise crossing the line from a rolling maul and a late penalty try sealing the win, as the home side failed to master the wind and rain in the season’s opener.
The match marked the return of Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards to the English top flight for the first time in four years, after he navigated Newcastle’s promotion at the first time of asking following a three-year worldwide ban in the wake of the Bloodgate scandal at Harlequins.
Last night’s game was under some scrutiny following the introduction of new scrum laws in the English top flight, which are being trialled in the northern hemisphere this season. It was a difficult first test on a windy and soggy night in the north east, and there were some early teething problems as the first two scrums of the night took more than a minute apiece to set, with the almost immediate collapse of one and the other resulting in a quick penalty to Bath.
Bath started the brightest and were never really in any danger as Newcastle started the season in the worst possible manner.