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Burns boots Bath Rugby to hard-fought victory

London Irish 22 v Bath Rugby 26

Bath Rugby opened their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign with a hard-fought 22-26 win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

A flawless kicking display from Freddie Burns yielded 16 points from the tee for the fly-half, coupled with tries from Ben Tapuai and Levi Davis, gave the visitors the victory in an open game where both sides were looked to run the ball and try to break down the opposition defence.

Tapuai’s score came after just four minutes of play. A dominant scrum against the head from the Bath pack earnt the penalty, and from the resulting lineout Tapuai broke through the midfield, jinking his way round the defence to go straight in under the posts. Burns added the conversion, 0-7.

Irish were determined to get parity on the scoreboard, turning down a series of penalties in favour of going for the corner. Bath’s defence held them at bay before a miss-pass opened up space and allowed David Paice to find Max Northcote-Green with a offload out the back of his hand. The flanker powered through and touched down. 5-7.

Burns extended Bath’s lead on 19 minutes with a very well-struck penalty from 45 metres out. 5-10.

Bath continued to stretch the Irish defence, however it was the home side that scored next – Northcote-Green reaching out to touch down in the corner for his second try after some strong carries by Irish in the midfield. 10-10.

Burns ensured Bath were back in front at half-time though, sending another penalty sailing through the posts from 35 metres out.

Half-time: London Irish 10 – Bath Rugby 13

Within two minutes of the game re-starting, Irish had their third try. A catch and drive took them within two metres of the line, and a series of pick and goes saw Paice burrow over from short range. Brendan McKibben secured the extra two, giving Irish the lead for the first time. 17-13.

Ten minutes later, and Bath were back in front. Playing under a penalty advantage, Burns spotted the opportunity and kicked across the field, finding Davis on the touchline. The debutant leapt high, gathered and then juggled the ball under pressure from the Irish defence, before eventually getting the ball down over the line to score his first try in Bath colours.  Burns added the tricky conversion from out wide to re-take the lead. 17-20.

The topsy-turvy scoring pattern continued as the game entered its final quarter. Irish got their bonus point try on 57 minutes – Alex Lewington finding himself in space and darting over in the corner – before two further penalties from Burns sealed victory for Bath.  

The final kick – 40 metres out, but dead in front of the posts – came with just over 10 minutes to play, and it was a nervy wait for the vocal Bath supporters who had travelled to Reading as their team closed the game out.

Irish kept fighting, and a series of pick and goes took them ever closer to the try line. The Bath defence held firm though, forcing the hosts to spread the ball wide, but they weren’t able to find their man with the final pass. Instead, Darren Atkins dived on the loose ball, and replacement Max Green – on for his debut appearance in the Blue, Black and White - had the simple job of kicking it to touch to end the game.

Final score: London Irish 22 – Bath Rugby 26

Match details

Madejski Stadium
Anglo-Welsh Cup
4 November 2017
KO 15:00

Attendance: 4364
Referee: Ben O'keeffe
Half Time score: 10-13

Irish:
Tries: Northcote-Green (16, 36), Paice (42), Lewington (57)
Conversions: McKibbin (43)
Bath:
Tries: Tapuai (3), Davis (51)
Conversions: Burns (3, 52)
Penalties: Burns (19, 39, 62, 69)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Irish and Bath.

4'

Try for Bath! Irish 0 - 5 Bath

Ben Tapuai scores for Bath.

4'

Conversion! Irish 0 - 7 Bath

Freddie Burns with a conversion for Bath.

17'

Try for Irish! Irish 5 - 7 Bath

Max Northcote-Green scores for Irish.

20'

Penalty Goal! Irish 5 - 10 Bath

Freddie Burns kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

37'

Try for Irish! Irish 10 - 10 Bath

Max Northcote-Green scores for Irish.

40'

Penalty Goal! Irish 10 - 13 Bath

Freddie Burns kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

41'

HALF TIME

Match score: Irish 10 - 13 Bath.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

43'

Try for Irish! Irish 15 - 13 Bath

David Paice scores for Irish.

44'

Conversion! Irish 17 - 13 Bath

Brendan McKibbin with a conversion for Irish.

52'

Try for Bath! Irish 17 - 18 Bath

Levi Davis scores for Bath.

53'

Substitution

Max Green replaces Darren Allinson for Bath.

53'

Conversion! Irish 17 - 20 Bath

Freddie Burns with a conversion for Bath.

54'

Substitution

Ofisa Treviranus replaces Jake Schatz for Irish.

54'

Substitution

Tom Smallbone replaces Harry Elrington for Irish.

56'

Substitution

Scott Steele replaces Brendan McKibbin for Irish.

58'

Try for Irish! Irish 22 - 20 Bath

Alex Lewington scores for Irish.

58'

Substitution

Oli Hoskins replaces Petrus Du Plessis for Irish.

61'

Substitution

Jack Walker replaces Michael Van Vuuren for Bath.

62'

Substitution

Elliott Stooke replaces Levi Douglas for Bath.

63'

Penalty Goal! Irish 22 - 23 Bath

Freddie Burns kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

63'

Substitution

Asaeli Tikoirotuma replaces Alex Lewington for Irish.

64'

Substitution

Will Vaughan replaces Nick Auterac for Bath.

64'

Substitution

Sam Nixon replaces Max Lahiff for Bath.

67'

Substitution

Ben Ransom replaces Scott Steele for Irish.

68'

Substitution

Matt Banahan replaces Darren Atkins for Bath.

70'

Penalty Goal! Irish 22 - 26 Bath

Freddie Burns kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

70'

Substitution

William Lloyd replaces Franco van der Merwe for Irish.

78'

Substitution

Darren Atkins replaces Levi Davis for Bath.

82'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Bath.

Final score: Irish 22 - 26 Bath.

Irish Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Max Northcote-Green200010
David Paice10005
Alex Lewington10005
Brendan McKibbin01002
Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Freddie Burns024016
Ben Tapuai10005
Levi Davis10005
Irish v Bath
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PHarry
Elrington
1Nick
Auterac
P    
   1HDavid
Paice
2Michael
Van Vuuren
H    
    PPetrus
Du Plessis
3Max
Lahiff
P    
    LFranco
van der Merwe
4Levi
Douglas
L    
    LFilo
Paulo
5James
Phillips
L    
   2FLMax
Northcote-Green
6Matt
Garvey
FL    
    FLBlair
Cowan
7Josh
Bayliss
FL    
    8Jake
Schatz
8Paul
Grant
8    
  1 SHBrendan
McKibbin
9Darren
Allinson
SH    
    FHTheo
Brophy Clews
10Freddie
Burns
FH 2 4
   1WAlex
Lewington
11Jack
Wilson
W    
    CLuke
McLean
12Ben
Tapuai
C1   
    CFergus
Mulchrone
13James
Wilson
C    
    WJoe
Cokanasiga
14Levi
Davis
W1   
    FBJames
Marshall
15Darren
Atkins
FB    
Replacements
    RTom
Woolstencroft
16Jack
Walker
RH    
    RPTom
Smallbone
17Will
Vaughan
RP    
    RPOli
Hoskins
18Sam
Nixon
RP    
    RLWilliam
Lloyd
19Elliott
Stooke
RL    
    R8Ofisa
Treviranus
20Oscar
Backhouse
R    
    RSHScott
Steele
21Max
Green
RSH    
    RWAsaeli
Tikoirotuma
22Matt
Banahan
RFB    
    RBen
Ransom
23Max
Clark
R