Bristol 37 Falcons 21

Saturday 5 February 2022

Newcastle Falcons fell to Gallagher Premiership defeat at Ashton Gate on Saturday, as Bristol Bears took the spoils.

The visitors trailed 28-14 at half-time but had began the game with an attacking outlook, running the ball from 22 to 22 in a ten-phase attack, but it was the home side who opened the scoring when Andy Uren rounded off a two-on-one to score between the posts.

Uren then departed injured as the Bears were forced into a back-line reshuffle, and the Falcons built some slid pressure with a string of red-zone penalties.

The TMO denied George McGuigan a try from a close-range tap – the Bears in comparison being more ruthless in taking their chances.

They recorded try number two on 11 minutes when Siva Naulago beat Nathan Earle to claim a bouncing ball in the left corner, with Tom Whiteley again adding the conversion.

Newcastle, too, were forced into an early scrum-half change as Sam Stuart limped of before the quarter-mark, and they trailed 21-0 after as many minutes when Luke Morahan scored in the left corner from a 70-metre counter-attack.

The Falcons finally got themselves off the mark with a super solo try from replacement Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, who beat two men with footwork and grubbered to the right corner, collecting his own kick to dot down.

Will Haydon-Wood converted well from the touchline, but Newcastle were soon under their own posts again when a short-side snipe enabled Alapati Leiua to score the Bears’ bonus-point try on 27 minutes.

There was still life in the opening half even when the clock went past 40 minutes, with repeated red-zone penalties for Falcons eventually seeing a penalty try and two Bears forwards sent to the sin-bin as they infringed defending the visitors’ maul.

That left the home side at 28-14 up at half-time, following a chaotic end to the opening period.

Newcastle, too, incurred the wrath of referee Carley, with full-back Mike Brown shown a yellow card three minutes into the second half for not releasing after a try-saving tackle in front of his own posts.

Whiteley chipped over the simple three points, but the Falcons were not throwing the towel in and produced a third try on 56 minutes when Nathan Earle took an inside pass from Radwan to score a converted try down the right.

Whiteley’s second penalty just after the hour mark extended their lead to 13 points, but his side were reduced to 14 men when Steven Luatua was sin-binned for collapsing a close-range maul.

Newcastle failed to take advantage as the resulting penalty was stolen by the home side, and despite their best efforts they were not able to find the fourth try for a consolation bonus point.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Pete Lucock (Tom Penny, 48), 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Sam Stuart (Camern Nordli-Kelemeti, 17); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan (Robbie Smith, 78), 3 Mark Tampin (Trevor Davison, 50), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Gary Graham (Josh Basham, 63), 7 Will Welch (captain, Connor Collett, 63), 8 Callum Chick.

Scorers - Tries: Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, Penalty try, Nathan Earle. Conversions: Will Haydon-Wood 2.

Bristol Bears: 15 Luke Morahan (Alapati, Leiua, 21), 14 Siva Naulago, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy (Antoine Frisch, 65), 10 Tom Whiteley, 9 Andy Uren (Tiff Eden, 7); 1 Jake Woolmore (Yann Thomas, 40), 2 Bryan Byrne (Harry Thacker, 40), 3 Max Lahiff (John Afoa, 40), 4 Dave Attwood Sam Jeffries, 49), 5 Joe Joyce (captain), 6 Chris Vui, 7 Dan Thomas (Steven Luatua, 58), 8 Fitz Harding.

Scorers - Tries: Andy Uren, Siva Naulago, Luke Morahan, Alapati Leiua. Conversions: Tom Whiteley 4. Penalties: Tom Whiteley 3.

Referee: Matthew Carley. Attendance: 15,503.

Bristol Bears 37

Tries
Uren 3
Naulago 10
Morahan 20
Leiua 26

Conversions
Whiteley 4,11,21,27

Penalties
Whiteley 44,63,78

Newcastle Falcons 21

Tries
Nordli-Kelemeti 23
Penalty 42
Earle 56

Conversions
Haydon-Wood 24,58

Bristol Bears

Morahan, Naulago, Radradra, O'Conor, Purdy, Whiteley, Uren, Woolmore, Byrne, Lahiff, Attwood, Joyce, Vui, Thomas, Harding

Replacements Thacker, Thomas, Afoa, Jeffries, Luatua, Eden, Frisch, Leiua

Newcastle Falcons

Brown, Radwan, Orlando, Lucock, Earle, Haydon-Wood, Stuart, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Tampin, Peterson, Robinson, Graham, Welch, Chick

Replacements Smith, Cade, Davison, Basham, Collett, Nordli-Kelemeti, Connon, Penny

referee: Matthew Carley

assistant: Greg Macdonald

assistant: Gareth Holsgrove

TMO: Tom Foley

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