Bristol Bears’ flawless start to the Premiership season was ended by Newcastle Falcons, who fought off a furious second-half rally to clinch an exciting first victory.
Although Brett Connon was injured just before kickoff, the hosts still led 17-3 at halftime, thanks to Mateo Carreras, Connor Collett, and George McGuigan.
After being stopped within touching distance of the goal line due to quick work by Piers O’Conor to trick Carreras, AJ MacGinty had opened the scoring for Bristol with a straightforward penalty.
In their most recent Premiership game, the visitors overcame a late London Irish comeback to make it three victories in a row, although they struggled for most of the first half.
As a result of Andy Uren turning the ball over within his zone, Newcastle was able to capitalize with a play that ended with Carreras scoring, which cost the early table-toppers.
Pat Lam, the director of rugby for Bristol, struck a somber figure when he returned to the team where he won the 1997–98 Premiership as a player amid a lackluster opening spell from his side.
The resolve of Newcastle’s players to bounce back after their 39-5 beating at struggling Worcester in their last Premiership game was mentioned by coach Dave Walder. That effort showed in a much better early defensive performance.
Beginning the second half with an anticipated assault from Bristol, Newcastle continuously attempted to slow down play but lost Connor Collett and Sean Robinson in quick succession to yellow cards.
Before Richard Lane scored his first Premiership try and MacGinty converted, Bristol capitalized by having Henry Purdy score the first touchdown.
When Newcastle was back to its total capacity, it gained momentum. Eventually, they increased their advantage when Tian Schoeman, a late addition to their starting lineup, made a successful long kick.
Newcastle raced to victory in the last 15 minutes thanks to a flurry of mistakes from both sides, hitting the crossbar twice, adding a late penalty, and Carreras sprinting 60 meters to score and secure a bonus point.