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Life after Burgess starts with a win for Bath at London Irish

Published 07/11/2015

Mike Ford and Bath were winners at London Irish
Mike Ford and Bath were winners at London Irish

Bath began life after Sam Burgess with a thumping 45-14 win at London Irish.

Brendan McKibbin's first-half red card ensured London Irish remain winless in the Aviva Premiership as Bath cruised to their second victory of the season in an ill-tempered game.

The Australian scrum-half was sent off for stamping on Henry Thomas' head after Leroy Houston had crossed early on for Bath, who were playing their first match since Burgess announced his move back to rugby league and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Ollie Devoto - sin-binned along with Alafoti Fa'osiliva in the first half - touched down Bath's second try soon after though Scott Steele's try gave the hosts momentary hope.

However Bath raced out of the traps after the break, Fa'osiliva and Kyle Eastmond touching down within minutes of each other to put the game beyond Irish.

The hosts crashed over a consolation through Fergus Mulchrone but Rhys Priestland and Nikola Matawalu scored their first Bath tries to make the victory even more resounding.

Priestland handed his side the lead with a sixth-minute penalty before his opposite number Shane Geraghty missed the opportunity to level things up shortly after.

But it took the visitors just 15 minutes to register their first try as Houston bundled the ball over from a maul two metres out from the whitewash.

The momentum appeared to swing Irish's way in the 20th minute when Bath flanker Fa'osiliva was yellow carded for a late tackle and the Exiles were awarded a penalty try.

However, replays showed that in the build-up, McKibbin had stamped on Thomas - for which referee Tom Foley brandished a red card and the penalty try was chalked off.

Bath seized the opportunity almost immediately after as Devoto crossed for the second try of the match, converted by Priestland.

But with both sides still down to 14 men replacement Steele immediately within five minutes of his arrival. Geraghty converted to cut the deficit down to 10 points.

Priestland was then off-target with a penalty for the visitors, and in an increasingly bad-tempered game Devoto was sin-binned seven minutes before the break for a late shoulder charge on Geraghty.

Fa'osiliva's effort to open the second half came after a well-worked passage of play put him in place to score from five metres out, before Semesa Rokoduguni burst down the right wing to neatly offload to Eastmond. Priestland kicked both conversions.

Mulchrone barreled over courtesy of a maul close to Bath's try-line and after a lull in play Priestland reignited proceedings ten minutes from full-time with his try after a strong diagonal run.

With George Ford now on the pitch, kicking duties were restored to the England fly-half and he did not miss the conversion.

There was a further try when Asaeli Tikoirotuma failed to deal with Rokoduguni's chipped kick and Matawalu finished things off, before Ford scored the final two points.

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