match SUMMARY - bath rugby 10-25 london irish
Discipline and the line-out were Bath Rugby’s downfall as they suffered a 25-10 loss to London Irish at The Rec.
On the day the club dedicated its fixture to Bath Rugby Foundation to raise awareness and funds for the work the Foundation do for disadvantaged children in our community, Bath started the game well and Josh Bayliss opened the scoring.
But London Irish grew into the contest with Paddy Jackson, Ben White and Benhard Janse van Rensburg scoring tries that earned them victory.
Beno Obano was back in Johann van Graan's starting XV after returning to the squad against Sale Sharks last time out.
Also returning from injury were Quinn Roux and Will Stuart, both entering the field from the bench, and Orlando Bailey made his 50th appearance for the Blue, Black and White.
Two Josephs featured in today's team with Jonathan lining up for Bath, and Will named on the bench for the Exiles.
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Josh McNally, 6 Miles Reid, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Josh Bayliss
Impact players: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Valeriy Morozov, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Fergus Lee-Warner, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Chris Cloete
London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Lucio Cinti, 13 Benhard van Rensburg, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Joe Powell; 1 Facundo Gigena, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Oliver Hoskins, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Matt Rogerson (c)
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Tarek Haffar, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Ben White, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Will Joseph
The heavens opened as referee Anthony Woodthorpe got Bath’s first 2023 game at The Rec under way.
In a testing first five minutes, Bath defended well on their try-line with a huge tackle delivered by Ben Spencer pushing the opposition backwards in the opening exchanges. Getting over the ball, the hosts turned possession in their favour to force a penalty for Piers Francis to clear.
Flipping the script, van Graan’s side found themselves up on the Irish five-metre line opting for a tap-and-go penalty. Unfortunate to knock the ball on, Bath were pushed back down to the halfway mark.
Running the ball in from an Irish kick, Jonathan Joseph broke through the line to catch the Exiles sleeping. With a loose pass going to ground, Miles Reid snatched a turnover at the ruck.
After the line-out went awry, Ben Spencer was left to make a nuisance of himself at the scrum. The captain piled on the pressure, earning a penalty for Bath as they advance on the Irish line.
Irish went down to 14 men with Rob Simmons shown a yellow for a cynical infringement on the line and attacking from close range, Bayliss dived over to give Bath the first score of the day, converted by Spencer.
London Irish didn’t take long to answer back with a score of their own down the wing through Jackson, who also converted to level the points.
A Spencer penalty on the half-hour mark let Bath edge forward on the scoreboard, but after going back up to 15 men, London Irish were able to clutch a second try just before the half-time whistle, as White sniped to dot down and give Irish a slender two-point lead at the break.
Bath needed to grab hold of proceedings, however struggled to overcome Irish’s defence.
Obano made his mark with some strong carries and big hits and Stuart returned to bolster the front too.
Unfortunately, Bath succumbed to pressure as Irish used their ball quickly. Spencer received a yellow card for an infringement - the home team’s second after Ruaridh McConnochie at the end of the first half - and Fergus Lee-Warner was given 10 minutes in the bin shortly afterwards.
Irish made their men advantage count and van Rensburg punched through a hole for the visitors’ third.
Jackson added a penalty to take the Exiles three scores ahead, leaving Bath with a lot to do and they couldn’t find an opening to bring themselves back into the contest.
POL ROGER PERFORMANCE OF THE MATCH