Newcastle Falcons 9-22 Bath, Aviva Premiership, September 3
McGeechan salutes coaching team
ESPNscrum Staff
September 3, 2011
Bath centre Matt Carraro slides over, Newcastle Falcons v Bath, Aviva Premiership, Kingston Park, Newcastle, England, September 3, 2011
Bath's Matt Carraro slides over for an early try at Kingston Park © Getty Images
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Bath director of rugby Ian McGeechan felt that coaching duo Martin Haag and Brad Davis deserved a huge amount of credit for his side's 22-9 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Saturday night.

The visitors had an early try from Matt Carraro and a terrific goal-kicking display from Sam Vesty, who contributed 17 points in total, to thank for a hard-earned opening-day victory. Their defence was also impressive, with Bath restricting the Falcons to just three Jimmy Gopperth penalties, and McGeechan was in no doubt as to who deserved the plaudits.

"The work Martin and Brad have put in along with the players showed tonight," said director of rugby McGeechan. This is not an easy place to come and win. I've come here with some very good sides and gone away beaten.

"It's also the first game of the season and the conditions weren't great so you're never quite sure how things are going to materialise. The way the set piece went, the way the forwards went is just what we wanted. When the set piece is going well it's easy.

"We made a few errors but in the second half we put the ball in the right area and took the points when they were there. We have something to work on now.

"I have two good coaches working alongside me and we get on well and we have similar ideas, but I did wake up this morning thinking why the hell am I doing this again? But when you are involved with really good people and when you come away with a result like this it's really worth doing."

Meanwhile, Falcons boss Alan Tait admitted that he faces a big challenge in putting some belief back into his troops after a tame loss on home soil.

"My job is now to get the players' heads up because we have Exeter away next and they are a big, fit, physical side and if you don't stop them, they will roll right over you," he said.

"Obviously, we're disappointed because the fans got right behind the players and they feel they let them down and the players are really low because of that. We gave away a really soft try early on and that gave them breathing space and they have class players who were able to control things.

"We then gave away three points within two minutes of the start of the second half with a daft penalty after we'd come close to scoring just before half-time, but Bath really did a job on us and their defence was outstanding.

"The big plus for us was that all our new lads put their hands up and that's pleasing - Richie Mayhew was outstanding on his debut.

"There was some good rugby played out there from us, especially at the end of the first half but Bath came to do a job on us and they did. But it is the first game of the season and there was enough character there for us to work on and we can iron things out."

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