London Irish 14-45 Bath: Relentless Bath stun Exiles
Bath score six tries on route to 45-15 victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium
Two converted tries was all the home side had to offer
Fijian scrum-half Nikola Matawalu scored the final try for the visitors
BY BRADLEY POOLE
A relentless Bath made light of Sam Burgess’s return to rugby league by thrashing London Irish at the Madejski Stadium, scoring six tries to claim their second win of the season in convincing fashion.
Irish, on the other hand, are yet to win a game this season, slipping to a fourth consecutive defeat. The Exiles, therefore, remain cemented to the bottom of the table along with Newcastle, who were beaten at Worcester, meaning both teams will enter round five still seeking their first point.
It had been somewhat of a disruptive week for Bath after Sam Burgess’ sudden decision to quit rugby union in order to return to the league format. Despite announcing he was committed to Bath not long before, he left in controversial terms in the week to rejoin the Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia.
The disruption did not seem to concern Bath on the field as they were convincing winners. Wales international Rhys Priestland’s early penalty, followed by conversions of tries for both Leroy Houston and Ollie Devoto gave Bath a comfortable 17-0 lead.
Despite Irish scrum-half Brendan McKibbin’s red card for the Exiles, Scott Steele’s try whittled it back to 17-7 by the break.
But Bath ran in four second-half tries through Alafoti Faosiliva, Kyle Eastmond, Priestland and Nikola Matawalu to secure the comfortable bonus point victory.
The hosts were up against it from the 20th minute onwards after Australian scrum-half McKibbin was sent off for stamping on prop Henry Thomas’s head. Their only second-half response was a try from Fergus Mulchrone 11 minutes after the restart, which was converted by Shane Geraghty.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bath: Rhys Priestland
The fly-half had an enormous impact on his first start for the club, especially during the first half. He dictated the tempo of the game in his side’s favour. He was good with the ball in hand and added a respectable amount of points from the tee. He even managed to touch down a try of his own, which was his first for the club.
London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Tom Fowlie, 12 Fergus Mulchrone, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 David Sisi, 6 Tom Guest, 5 Matt Symons, 4 George Skivington (C), 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Smallbone.
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Tom Court, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Luke Narraway, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Dom Waldouck
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Alafoti Faosiliva, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dom Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Max Northcote-Green, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 George Ford, 23 Jeff Williams.
Date: Saturday, November 7
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Wayne Falla, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Rowan Kitt