Match Report: London Irish 47-38 Bath Rugby

London Irish 47 v Bath Rugby 38

MATCH SUMMARY - London irish 47-38 bath rugby

In a first-half packed full of tries for the hosts, Bath fought back from 35-5 down at half-time to squeeze London Irish's victory to nine points and take away a try-bonus point. 

Delivered a double injury blow, GJ van Velze and Josh McNally departed the field with the Bath pack having to make replacements earlier than anticipated.  

The Blue, Black and White were looking to score as many points as possible in the second 40 minutes as they rejoined the pitch for what would be a big second-half. 

Showing their grit and determination, the team scored six tries to the host’s seven, with Gabriel Hamer-Webb, Matt Gallagher and Joe Cokanasiga all crossing the whitewash and Niall Annett scoring a double. 

An 80th minute try from Piers Francis provided late consolation to bring the final score deficit to within single figures. 


Johann van Graan made five changes to his team who faced Wasps last week.  

Giving Quinn Roux and GJ van Velze their first starts of the season, the South African pair took their place in the forwards pack at lock and blindside respectively. 

With the only change in the backline coming in the form of Hamer-Webb, the 21-year-old added pace down the wing, offering support to last week’s centre pairing, Max Ojomoh and Jonathan Joseph. 

Taking his place on the bench after a false-start against Bristol Bears, Annett also got his first appearance of the 2022/23 season, alongside D’Arcy Rae who returned from injury.

Fronting up against his brother, Jonathan, London Irish’s Will Joseph took to the field in the same numbered jersey.  

With a speedy London Irish backline, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ben Loader and Henry Arundell provided Bath’s opposition with speed and agility. 

Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Juan Schoeman, 2 Tom Dunn ©, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Quinn Roux, 5 Josh McNally, 6 GJ van Velze, 7 Miles Reid, 8 Josh Bayliss

Impact players: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 D'Arcy Rae, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Wesley White, 21 Max Green, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Ruaridh McConnochie

London Irish: 15 Henry Arundell, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Ben Donnell, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Matt Rogerson ©

Replacements: 16 Joseph Vajner, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Caolan Englefield, 23 James Stokes


Putting the backs to work straight from the kick-off, Jonathan Joseph managed to get two touches of the ball within the opening two minutes. Slinging the ball out wide to his centre pairing, Ojomoh was unlucky to get caught in the tackle giving Irish the penalty to clear their lines. Spotting the overlap, Irish soon spread the ball to the wing and Hassell-Collins headed to the line for Irish’s first, converted by Paddy Jackson, 7-0. 

After a game of penalty ping-pong, both teams were brought up and down the field to defend their territory. It was Irish who got the payout though, replicating their previous try and sending an overlapping Loader to the try line for the opposition’s second, converted again by Jackson, 14-0. 

Not downbeat by the two-score lead, Bath came firing back with one of their own, quickly moving the ball from the back of a line-out to field it out wide to Gallagher. Stepping on the gas and supported by Hamer-Webb, Gallagher popped the ball out for Hamer-Webb to score in the corner. A tricky angle for Orlando Bailey who missed the conversion, 14-5. 

Shortly after Bath's first, Irish delivered their third, sending the ball from coast to coast and releasing Loader over the line for his second, converted by Jackson’s boot, 21-5. 

Difficult scenes for Bath who were dealt a double injury blow with both van Velze and McNally taken off the field, seeing van Graan's replacements head onto the pitch prematurely.  

Using the momentum of their first three scores, Irish cinched their fourth inside the first-half through Hassell-Collins once again, bringing the score to 28-5 after Jackson added the extras.  

With five minutes left in the half, Gallagher broke Bath into space in the midfield catching his own box kick but it was Irish who got the best of the visitors as they played through the phases and halted Bath’s attack to earn a penalty. With just a minute left on the clock, London Irish sent Hassell-Collins over the line for a hat-trick, converted once again by Jackson bringing the 40 minutes to a close, 35-5.


With a gap to claw back, Tom Dunn led his Blue, Black and White team back to the field for the second instalment. 

Getting the half underway, Irish knocked the ball on from the restart and handed Bath the put in at the scrum who quickly earned a penalty. With the bit between their teeth, Bath kept pushing forward, delivering strong carries and maintaining their discipline. It wasn’t long before Bath caught the Irish side napping and Gallagher jetted towards the line for Bath’s second of the game. Bailey's conversion took an unlucky rebound of the posts to sit the score at 35-10. 

Coming at the Irish side once again, Bath won themselves another scrum penalty for Bailey to kick to the corner. With the ball delivered cleanly from the line out, it soon found Cokanasiga who bundled through two Irish defenders to touch the ball down. Converted by Bailey, the score stood at 35-17. 

However, it wasn’t long before the host’s hit back. Initiated by a Bath penalty, Loader was allowed to dart through the line and score his third of the match, converted again by Jackson’s boot, 42-17. 

Replacements for Bath came around the 60-minute mark, with both Ruaridh McConnochie and D’Arcy Rae getting their first appearances of the Gallagher Premiership season. 

Carrying hard on the Irish line with advantage on their side, a try came for Bath’s replacement hooker, Annett, on his debut appearance in blue, black and white. Converted by Bailey, the gap closed again to stand at 42-24 and earn the Bath pack a try-bonus point. 

With five minutes left the clock, it wasn’t long before Annett found himself at the back of a driving maul to crash over the line once again. The extras were added Bailey and the deficit closed to 42-31.

Both packs showed they had gas left in the tank in the closing minutes of the game, and London Irish soon charged for the whitewash after Jackson showed he wasn’t just a goal kicker and dotted the ball down for the host’s seventh of the day. Missing his conversion the score sat at 47-31, spoiling Bath’s hopes of a losing bonus point.  

Refusing to the let the scoreline go, Francis fought his way through multiple defenders and reduced the hearty Bath pack’s deficit to single figures, 47-38.

It wasn’t meant to be for the Blue, Black and White but cheered on by an army of travelling fans, there were positives to take from a gutsy and determined second-half performance.  



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