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Match Report: London Irish 18 Bath Rugby 22

19 Nov 2017
Match Report: London Irish 18 Bath Rugby 22

Freddie Burns returned to haunt London Irish for the second time in as many weeks as he kicked visiting Bath Rugby to victory at the Madejski Stadium.

Fautless with the boot all day, Burns kicked 17 points for Bath in a 22-18 win after playing a similarly pivotal role in their 26-22 triumph in the Anglo-Welsh Cup there on November 4.

Irish were first on the board through the boot of Tommy Bell, who slotted an early penalty after Bath were pulled up for offside.

But Todd Blackadder’s side hit back quickly, the charging bulk of Matt Banahan powering through a few moments later for the game’s first try after good work by Aled Brew and Paul Grant, Burns slotting the conversion.

James Marshall dotted down soon after for the home side cut the gap to 10-8 as Irish rallied.

Burns, capped ten times for England, then landed a drop goal after 23 minutes for another three points, before power was added to precision moments later when he sent a penalty sailing through the posts from near halfway.

Irish hit back and thought they had sliced the lead when Blair Cowan crossed, but this was ruled out by the officials.

But the hosts did strike a blow just before half-time through another Bell penalty as the sides went into half-time at 11-16.

A tricky kick from the touchline ten minutes after half-time was another test for Burns, but he sent it through with the minimum of fuss once more as Bath stretched their advantage.

The game got scrappier, playing into the visitors’ hands, with Burns adding another three-pointer midway through the second period to cement an 11-point lead.

Irish valiantly kept hammering away at the Bath backline, and replacement Scott Steele crashed over with five minutes to go to ensure a frantic finale, Greig Tonks on hand with the extras.

Irish relentlessly poured forward in search of a winning score and nearly had it in the final seconds, but Ollie Hoskins was held up just short of the line.