A slow start to the season became a bad one for Bath when they lost 27-16 at home to Newcastle yesterday. After one win in six Guinness Premiership games – as well as two defeats in the Heineken Cup, by the by – Steve Meehan's team have fallen to 11th in the table.
They went ahead against the Falcons, who had not won in the league before yesterday, the centre Matt Carraro scoring a try and the fly-half Nicky Little kicking a penalty. Charlie Amesbury scored a try in reply which Newcastle's fly-half, Jimmy Gopperth, converted. The scrum-half Michael Claassens scored a try for Bath early in the second half but it was matched by one from the lock James Hudson and tries by Micky Young and Amesbury again earned Newcastle a bonus point. Claassens dropped a goal.
Meehan, who signed a two-year contract extension at the Recreation Ground earlier this month, said: "We are training very well. The effort is terrific. But after this run of results we have to rely on the strong characters in this team, the belief that there really is a lot of talent in the side, and get back to playing the type of rugby we know we are capable of. The guys will spend a lot of time looking at themselves and thinking about how they can do things better, individually and collectively.
"We've been through moments like this in the past and if [the players] continue to work hard for each other then we will come out of it. We've just got to relax and do the basics."
Harlequins continued their improvement with a 26-22 win against Worcester at Sixways which moved them up to eighth. The No 8 Nick Easter left the field after half an hour.
"It looks like he has a calf muscle injury," said Quins' coach, John Kingston. "He is on crutches and it is impossible to say how many weeks he will be off but there is obviously a question mark as to whether he will be available for the autumn internationals. He will report to England tomorrow and their medical staff will have to assess the injury."
A fifth-minute try by the England scrum-half Danny Care set Quins on their way, and the full-back Mike Brown scored a second 10 minutes into the second half. Worcester's try came from the replacement prop Callum Black late on. For Quins, Nick Evans and Rory Clegg kicked a conversion and two penalties each; Willie Walker kicked four penalties, a drop-goal and a conversion for Worcester.
Today's match sees Leeds, bottom of the table and without a win, go to Vicarage Road to play Saracens, who are top of the lot without a loss. Neil Back, the Leeds coach, is full of praise for Sarries' "no frills" approach – "I was fortunate enough to play in successful teams," he said, referring to Leicester and England, "and not every game we played was pretty; it was about winning" – but he could do with Saracens losing concentration today.
One England player at least managed to stay in one piece yesterday – Jonny Wilkinson scored a try and kicked 16 points as Toulon beat Bourgoin 46-28 in the French Championship.Reuse content