Bath Rugby put in a dominant performance, as the side scored six tries to earn a bonus-point win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.
Stuart Hooper’s side ran in a total of six scores courtesy of Beno Obano, Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni, Will Chudley Tom Homer and a penalty try, whilst in reply London Irish got a score through Adam Coleman.
Anthony Watson returned to the starting line-up for Bath following an injury sustained in November and lock Elliott Stooke made his 100th appearance for the Blue, Black and White.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to put the ball over the whitewash, Beno Obano was on hand to open the scoring.
From a Rhys Priestland penalty, Bath put pressure on from the line-out, which allowed the forwards to put the Exiles on the back foot. After recycling the ball quickly, Will Chudley found Obano who crashed his way over. Priestland added the extras. [0-7]
After just eight minutes, Anthony Watson took advantage after the ball came loose from London Irish hands and the wing hacked the ball forward from halfway and slid over to score. [0-12]
The Exiles put their first score on the board after 16 minutes when they won a penalty at the scrum. Stephen Myler cashed in for three points for his side. [3-12]
However, just six minutes later Bath did it again to add further daylight between the scores. Semesa Rokoduguni raced over in the corner securing the third of the day for the Blue, Black and White. The visitors had power, pace and dynamism as their forwards dragged London Irish over the line. Bath recycled the ball and found their wide channel with JJ making a neat line before finding Rokoduguni who dotted the ball down in the corner with ease. [3-17]
After 26 minutes there was a twist in the tale when Bath were awarded a penalty try. Tom Homer and Rokoduguni harrowed after the loose ball, before full-back James Stokes hesitated allowing Homer to dive on top. However, Irish no. 8 Albert Tuisue dived in over the ball and failed to release. Referee Karl Dixon consulted the linesmen and the TMO, who after a short discussion awarded the penalty try for foul play and showed Tuisue a yellow card. [3-24]
Try number five for Bath was found on 30 minutes, a fantastic set of offloads supported Chudley to crash over the whitewash. The ball was juggled through the hands of Rokoduguni before Joseph brought it forward and passed to the scrum-half. Priestland added two more. [3-31]
There was to be no let-up from Hooper’s men on the stroke of half-time, who very nearly added a sixth try through their forwards. It went to TMO but came off as no try. However, whilst London Irish had battled well, they were out muscled and out played by an unyielding Bath defence who were 3-31 up at half-time.
Half-time - London Irish 3-31 Bath Rugby
The second-half needed some patience but Bath continued to dominate in all areas of the game.
Tom Homer intercepted and ran the full length of the pitch for a breakaway sixth try. London Irish were camped out on the Bath line but even after a number of pick and go's, the Bath defence remained solid. The forwards were pinning Irish back and the Exiles chose to go out wide as Myler put in a cross-field kick. However, Homer was lying in wait and stole the pass to race 75 yards unopposed to crash over the line through the centre of the posts. Priestland converted. [3-38]
Shortly after, the hosts finally broke the deadlock and got their first try of the game at 58 minutes, Adam Coleman made an intelligent line after breaking the Bath defence for the first time. Myler converted. [10-38]
Bath went down to 14 men when Christian Judge was shown a yellow for a dangerous tackle with 62 minutes on the clock.
Bath Rugby saw out the final minutes to secure a strong performance against London Irish. The side stuck to their game plan and structures to deliver the result following an incredible amount of preparation, effort and hard-work. The Blue, Black and White maintained strong discipline and outstanding rigour in defence to earn a win on the road in Round Six of the Gallagher Premiership.
The side now prepare to face Sale Sharks at the Rec on Saturday 28th December with a six day turn around.
Full-time – London Irish 10-38 Bath Rugby
15. Tom Homer, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11.Anthony Watson, 10. Rhys Priestland (C), 9. Will Chudley: 1. Beno Obano; 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Will Stuart, 4. Josh McNally, 5. Elliot Stooke, 6. Tom Ellis, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Josh Bayliss,
16. Jack Walker, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Matt Garvey, 20. Rhys Davies, 21. Chris Cook, 22. Freddie Burns, 23. Aled Brew