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Bath Rugby fight tooth and nail for win at Madejski

London Irish 23 v Bath Rugby 33

Bath Rugby fought tooth and nail to claim a 23-33 victory against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium this evening, surviving a spirited comeback by the Exiles.

It was Irish who drew first blood in the opening stages, as Bath were penalized following some strong counter-rucking; captain and inside centre Shane Geraghty kicking his side into an early 3-0 lead.

Only moments later, Gavin Henson drew the scores level after Irish were penalised for entering the tackle from the wrong direction. 3-3.

The Welsh fly-half doubled his tally in the 15th minute with another penalty to make it 3-6 to Bath.

In a first half strewn with penalties, mainly to the visitors, the Irish defence held strong – but at a cost. Almost half an hour into the match, and after the referee had frequently warned the home side about their infringements at both set-piece and breakdown, Irish tighthead Halani Aulika was given a yellow card.

Following Aulika’s marching orders, Henson took the scores to 3-9. Eight minutes later, frequent re-sets at Bath’s attacking scrum on the Irish 5m forced the referee to give the visitors the penalty try. Henson converted from in front of the posts. 3-16.

There was still time for more points in the first half, albeit it was Irish who took them, with Bath penalised at a lineout in their 22. Geraghty kicked well to make it 6-16.

Half time: London Irish 6 – 16 Bath Rugby

Bath couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second half, with none other than tighthead prop Henry Thomas benefiting from a deft offload in the midfield from Henson to shrug off three would-be defenders and sprint away to score. Henson added the extras and Bath now had a commanding 6-23 lead.

Irish played the waiting game: six minutes to be precise, as their penalty lineout saw them work their way patiently to Bath’s line, before hooker David Paice forced his way over. Geraghty made it 13-23 with his conversion.

In the 51st minute, Bath were found guilty of pulling an opponent at the scrum, which allowed Geraghty to draw his team ever nearer with a further three points. 16-23.

When Henson hoisted up a very high ball into Irish territory, Semesa Rokoduguni chased with purpose – enough to pressure Geraghty into dropping the ball and giving the scrum to Bath.

Never ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, Bath’s pack dominated the scrum and ensured Henson a simple position from which to take the penalty kick. 16-26.

Ten minutes remained in the match when replacement scrum-half Chris Cook made something out of nothing, his break and evasion of two tackles then saw him roly-poly over the line to score a wonder try. Henson was again on hand to make the conversion. 16-33.

It was then that Irish started to show some serious urgency in attack, throwing caution to the wind and running the ball from everywhere – including deep inside their own half.

Lock Dom Day was sin-binned in the 73rd minute, and while Bath did well to turn the Exiles over as they were camped in the visitors’ 22, no sooner had they done that than Irish were again in possession. They went wide and scored through replacement wing James Short, and Geraghty converted. 23-33.

Bath worked tirelessly in defence for the final remaining minutes, and they needed to, such was the strength of the Exiles’ desire to find a way over the line. The visitors left the Madejski with a well-earned win that holds them in good stead in the Aviva Premiership.

Final score: London Irish 23 – 33 Bath Rugby

Match details

Madejski Stadium
Aviva Premiership
22 November 2014
KO 15:00

Referee: Andrew Small
Half Time score: 6-16

Irish:
Tries: Paice (46), Short (73)
Conversions: Geraghty (46, 74)
Penalties: Geraghty (2, 37, 51)
Bath:
Tries: Thomas (41), Cook (68)
Conversions: Henson (33, 42, 68)
Penalties: Henson (4, 14, 26, 58)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Irish and Bath.

3'

Penalty Goal! Irish 3 - 0 Bath

Shane Geraghty kicks a penalty goal for Irish.

5'

Penalty Goal! Irish 3 - 3 Bath

Gavin Henson kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

15'

Penalty Goal! Irish 3 - 6 Bath

Gavin Henson kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

26'

Yellow Card!

Irish lose Halani 'Aulika for ten minutes.

27'

Penalty Goal! Irish 3 - 9 Bath

Gavin Henson kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

30'

Substitution

Leo Halavatau replaces Tom Guest for Irish.

33'

Substitution

Nick Auterac replaces Nathan Catt for Bath.

34'

Try for Bath! Irish 3 - 14 Bath

scores for Bath.

34'

Conversion! Irish 3 - 16 Bath

Gavin Henson with a conversion for Bath.

37'

Substitution

Tom Guest replaces Leo Halavatau for Irish.

38'

Penalty Goal! Irish 6 - 16 Bath

Shane Geraghty kicks a penalty goal for Irish.

40'

HALF TIME

Match score: Irish 6 - 16 Bath.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

42'

Try for Bath! Irish 6 - 21 Bath

Henry Thomas scores for Bath.

43'

Conversion! Irish 6 - 23 Bath

Gavin Henson with a conversion for Bath.

47'

Try for Irish! Irish 11 - 23 Bath

David Paice scores for Irish.

47'

Conversion! Irish 13 - 23 Bath

Shane Geraghty with a conversion for Irish.

52'

Penalty Goal! Irish 16 - 23 Bath

Shane Geraghty kicks a penalty goal for Irish.

55'

Substitution

Chris Cook replaces Micky Young for Bath.

57'

Substitution

Ollie Devoto replaces Luke Arscott for Bath.

57'

Substitution

Darren Allinson replaces Scott Steele for Irish.

59'

Substitution

Charlie Ewels replaces Matt Garvey for Bath.

59'

Penalty Goal! Irish 16 - 26 Bath

Gavin Henson kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

59'

Substitution

Leo Halavatau replaces Halani 'Aulika for Irish.

63'

Substitution

Tom Dunn replaces Ross Batty for Bath.

63'

Substitution

Carl Fearns replaces David Sisi for Bath.

65'

Substitution

Matt Parr replaces Tom Court for Irish.

69'

Try for Bath! Irish 16 - 31 Bath

Chris Cook scores for Bath.

69'

Conversion! Irish 16 - 33 Bath

Gavin Henson with a conversion for Bath.

69'

Substitution

Kane Palma-Newport replaces Henry Thomas for Bath.

72'

Yellow Card!

Bath lose Dominic Day for ten minutes.

74'

Try for Irish! Irish 21 - 33 Bath

James Short scores for Irish.

75'

Substitution

Olly Woodburn replaces Matt Banahan for Bath.

75'

Conversion! Irish 23 - 33 Bath

Shane Geraghty with a conversion for Irish.

75'

Substitution

Tom Court replaces Matt Parr for Irish.

80'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Bath.

Final score: Irish 23 - 33 Bath.

Irish Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Shane Geraghty023013
David Paice10005
James Short10005
Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Gavin Henson034018
Henry Thomas10005
Chris Cook10005
Irish v Bath
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PTom
Court
1Nathan
Catt
P    
   1HDavid
Paice
2Ross
Batty
H    
    PHalani
'Aulika
3Henry
Thomas
P1   
    LDavid
Lyons
4Stuart
Hooper
L    
    LSean
Cox
5Dominic
Day
L    
    FLLuke
Narraway
6Matt
Garvey
FL    
    FLConor
Gilsenan
7David
Sisi
FL    
    8Tom
Guest
8Leroy
Houston
8    
    SHScott
Steele
9Micky
Young
SH    
    FHChris
Noakes
10Gavin
Henson
FH 3 4
    WTopsy
Ojo
11Matt
Banahan
W    
3 2 CShane
Geraghty
12Kyle
Eastmond
C    
    CFergus
Mulchrone
13Jonathan
Joseph
C    
    WAlex
Lewington
14Semesa
Rokoduguni
W    
    FBAndrew
Fenby
15Luke
Arscott
FB    
Replacements
    RJimmy
Stevens
16Tom
Dunn
RH    
    RPMatt
Parr
17Nick
Auterac
RP    
    R8Leo
Halavatau
18Kane
Palma-Newport
RP    
    RTheo
Vukasinovic
19Charlie
Ewels
RFL    
    ROllie
Curry
20Carl
Fearns
RFL    
    RSHDarren
Allinson
21Chris
Cook
RSH1   
    REoin
Griffin
22Ollie
Devoto
RFB    
   1RJames
Short
23Olly
Woodburn
RW