Big victory but bonus point goes begging
It is testament to how seriously Bath Rugby view the LV= Cup that their biggest home win of the season still left a tinge of disappointment in the eyes of the coaching staff.
The 21-point margin in their Pool 4 opener matched the winning margin in the Aviva Premiership success over Sale Sharks and has only been bettered this term by the Amlin Cup triumph in Bucharest.
But after coming up against a Dragons side who have now lost six games on the spin, forwards coach Neal Hatley knows Bath's failure to add a fourth-try bonus point could prove costly in their bid to match last year's semi-final qualification.
"It is important to get the win but we were not satisfied with the accuracy for portions of the game," said Hatley. "When we stuck to what we wanted to do we looked good but we're disappointed that we left a bonus point out there.
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"We didn't really complete what we were trying to do and you will find that teams will be cynical to try to stop you scoring. We've got to be better than that, we've got to be more accurate to come away with the tries.
"We thought we had them creaking but they did well to knock us back. They were defending for their lives, so we have to give them credit for the way they did it.
"We've made no bones about the fact that the Premiership is our bread and butter but if you win six games in the LV you are in Europe, whereas in the Premiership you've got to slog through about ten months to get an outcome."
Fijian winger Semesa Rokoduguni ran in two tries on his debut, while Tom Heathcote enhanced his claims for a regular starting role by kicking eight from eight from the tee on his first start of the season.
It was the young fly-half who opened the scoring with a penalty but Newport put their recent woes behind them when they grabbed the first try. Dragons pounced on a wayward Brett Sharman lineout and Hallam Amos and Ross Wardle combined on the wing for the latter to touch down. Steffan Jones converted.
Heathcote was again the catalyst for Bath's next points as they responded with a try of their own. The 20-year-old burst through the Dragons' defence and offloaded to Rokoduguni to score.
The Bath fly-half continued to send a message to the coaching staff in the absence of Stephen Donald by converting and then adding four more penalties before half-time.
Jones had replied with a penalty of his own midway through the half but the hosts capitalised on the sin-binning of Ian Nimmo soon after the restart when Matt Banahan bludgeoned over the whitewash for a converted try.
A fine last-ditch tackle from Richard Lane denied Wardle his second score of the day but another Newport yellow card, this time for skipper Jevon Groves, led to Bath's final try. Heathcote again provided the final pass as Rokoduguni showed good strength to hold off two tacklers and dive under the posts for a converted try.
Dan Evans replied with a late unconverted touchdown for Newport.
Bath first-team coach Brad Davis said: "The guys who have been knocking on the door pretty much to a man delivered and reinforced the quality of player we know they are. They took their chance with both hands."