Newcastle head coach Dave Walder praised his side’s reaction to last week’s loss at Worcester as they clinched their first win of the season with a 30-15 home triumph against Bristol.
Mateo Carreras led the way with tries in each half for the Falcons and there were further five-pointers from Connor Collett and George McGuigan while Tian Schoeman contributed 10 points via two conversions and two penalties.
Bristol fight back
The Falcons raced into a 17-3 half-time lead after notching three tries but the Bears came back strongly during the early stages of the second half and narrowed the gap with tries from Henry Purdy and Richard Lane.
Newcastle held on, however, with Carreras scoring his team’s bonus-point try in the game’s dying moments and Walder expressed his delight with the way his side responded after suffering a humiliating 39-5 defeat against financially troubled Worcester Warriors at Sixways last week.
“We spoke through the week that the performance last week wasn’t to the standard that we expect here and we wanted to make sure that we gave an 80-minute performance, which we did today,” said Walder after the match.
“From the moment that Brett Connon pulled out this morning we knew that we would be up against it, but we managed to stem the tide.
“A couple of minutes after we got back up to 15 men we were able to launch a platform for attacking and kept the ball on the right side of halfway.”
Newcastle were boosted by Argentine centres Matias Orlando and Matias Moroni, with the duo both starting in midfield despite only arriving in the UK from Test duty on Monday.
And Walder was happy with the immediate impact of the Pumas players, alongside the superb performance from their countryman Carreras.
“It makes a real difference bringing in two international centres and then adding onto the wing Carreras and it’s a great backline,” he said.
“He (Carreras) is a tough little character and he probably epitomised why we were good tonight.”
While Walder praised his team, Bristol boss Pat Lam criticised his side’s error-strewn performance.
The Bears did not resemble the side who went into the match top of the Premiership standings, and Lam believes his troops only have themselves to blame.
“It was a disappointing night for us,” he admitted.
Full of praise for Newcastle
“I have to say though that Newcastle were absolutely phenomenal tonight. I’m pleased for Dave Walder and his team tonight.
“If you aren’t there mentally then you are always going to find it a struggle. We just made so many errors that were punished by Newcastle. I’m not sure what the turnover count was tonight, but it wasn’t good.
“We got ourselves back into the game and within two points, but then again it’s another mistake that costs us just when we are getting a little bit of momentum going our way.”