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Bath back to winning ways

01st January 2012 15:32

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Michael Claassens bath v london irish

Bath try-scorer: Michael Claassens

Bath halted a run of four straight defeats with a morale-boosting 30-3 win over London Irish at a sodden Recreation Ground.

The West Country outfit struggled early on as they lost the lengthy kicking battle for territorial advantage in conditions that were far from conducive to free-flowing rugby and suffered from serious malfunctions in their line-out.

As soon as they began to keep the ball in hand, the home side looked far more dangerous though and they got their reward after quarter of an hour.

After the forwards went through a number of phases to gain the hard yards, Samoan prop Anthony Perenise flopped over the line and touched the ball down against the foot of the post to give his team the lead.

As the Bath pack continued to assert their dominance, Perenise and his front row counterpart Nathan Catt nearly added a second try, only to be denied on both occasions by the Television Match Official.

New Zealand's World Cup winning fly-half Stephen Donald did extend the advantage to ten points but his penalty was quickly cancelled out by the Premiership's top points scorer this season Tom Homer to make it 10-3 at the break.

Another Donald penalty kept the scoreboard ticking over for Bath shortly after the interval before his halfback partner Michael Claassens dealt the killer blow midway through the second half.

The crucial second try of the match came courtesy of an excellent counter attack from Nick Abendanon, who gathered a loose London Irish kick expertly inside his own twenty-two and returned it with interest.

The South African-born England international rounded a couple of defenders before finding Tom Biggs on his inside and he in turn fed Claassens, who had run an outstanding support line, to apply the finish.

The Rec crowd received an added boost in the latter stages of the contest with a first sighting of former rugby league starlet Kyle Eastmond but it was left to the Bath pack to have the final say and seal a much-needed home victory with a late penalty try.

The scorers:

For Bath:
Tries: Perenise, Claassens, Penalty Try
Cons: Donald 3
Pens: Donald 3

For London Irish:
Pen:Homer

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Will Tanner, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 David Wilson, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Kyle Eastmond.

London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Tom Homer, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Richard Thorpe 7 Jamie Gibson 6 Declan Danaher (c) 5 Bryn Evans 4 Nick Kennedy 3 Paulica Ion 2 James Buckland 1 Alex Corbisiero
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Clarke Dermody, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Adam Thompstone, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Paul Hodgson.

Referee: Martin Fox

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