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Reasons to be cheerful for Booth

Bath assistant coach Tony Booth was content with the 33-23 Aviva Premiership victory at London Irish - even though his team were far from convincing.

The visitors struggled to dominate a poor London Irish side but did enough to move up to second place in the table and Booth said: "W e are delighted with the result, backing up last week's win.

"We haven't played at our best and it was a tough game. They were emotionally charged after last week's heavy defeat and we knew they would come out with a reaction."

"In international periods, the games are fraught with difficulty as there is so much disruption. People need to find the feet and get used to where people play."

Despite the control of their pack, Bath were unable to create any attacking opportunities for England hopefuls Kyle Eastmond, Jonathan Joseph and Semesa Rokoduguni to shine.

"It was a very stop-start game so we didn't see any of our three-quarters at their best. However the bottom line is that the team comes first and they all put in good defensive efforts."

Bath scored three tries from Henry Thomas, Chris Cook and a penalty try award, with Gavin Henson kicking four penalties and three conversions.

For the battling Irish, David Paice and James Short scored tries with Shane Geraghty kicking three penalties and two conversions.

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith accepted that his side's errors had contributed to the defeat.

He said: "Our effort was good but our precision wasn't great. We put ourselves under pressure situations which were of our own making."

"We had distractions leading into the game, especially the loss of our skipper, George Skivington, but we played some good rugby against a side which had a very fancy backline."

Irish were trailing 23-6 just after the interval and looked down and out but they rallied to score 10 points and at one stage looked like pulling off a remarkable comeback.

Smith continued: "It was the breakaway try from their scrum-half which broke our backs. It was a simple system error and had we not conceded that try, it would have been closer to a drawn game."

With this defeat, Irish fell to 11th place in the table, with an important home fixture against Gloucester next Saturday.

"It was a poor performance at Sale last week and we lost a home game today with nothing so it's disappointing.

"We are not where we want to be but we have to accept it. The season is only a third gone and there's plenty of rugby left to play."


From Belfast Telegraph