Bath see off London Irish fightback to reach Challenge Cup semi-final

Bath became the first team through to the European Challenge Cup semi-finals after the win
Bath see off London Irish fightback to reach Challenge Cup semi-final

London Irish's Sean O'Brien and Paddy Jackson dejected after the game. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Bath 19 London Irish 13

Bath became the first team through to the European Challenge Cup semi-finals after beating London Irish 26-13 at the Recreation Ground.

The west country club booked a seventh appearance in the competition’s last four and kept alive hopes of recapturing a trophy they last won 13 years ago.

Irish dominated early territory and possession, responding well to centre Theo Brophy Clews’s departure for a head injury assessment, and they took a sixth-minute lead.

The Irish forwards drove from a lineout deep inside Bath’s 22, and Creevy touched down, with Jackson’s conversion opening up a seven-point lead.

But Bath’s response was immediate, and they drew level through a close-range effort by McNally that Spencer converted.

Bath took charge through prop Will Stuart’s try double and a touchdown for their former Irish lock Josh McNally that underpinned a comfortable interval advantage.

But they could not relax until number eight Zach Mercer scored midway through the final quarter, while scrum-half Ben Spencer kicked three conversions.

Irish staged a stunning late fightback to defeat round of 16 opponents Cardiff Blues, yet there was no repeat seven days later.

Irish were in the contest until late on following hooker Agustin Creevy’s try, plus a Paddy Jackson conversion and two penalties, but Bath proved worthy winners.

BATH: Watson, Cokanasiga, Joseph, Redpath, McConnochie, Bailey, B. Spencer, Obano, Walker, Stuart, McNally, Ewels, Faletau, Bayliss, Mercer. Replacements: J. Schoeman for Obano (60), Du Toit for Walker (60), Thomas for Stuart (60), Williams for McNally (70). Not Used: Reid, Chudley, Clark, Gray.

LONDON IRISH: Parton, Loader, Brophy-Clews, Hepetema, Hassell- Collins, Jackson, Phipps, Gigena, Creevy, Chawatama, Nott, Simmons, Rogerson, Cowan, Tuisue. Replacements: Stokes for Brophy-Clews (42), Meehan for Phipps (76), Elrington for Gigena (41), Cornish for Creevy (68), Hoskins for Chawatama (68), Munga for Nott (55), Donnell for Rogerson (68), O’Brien for Cowan (55).

Ref: Frank Murphy (Ireland).

Scorers for Bath Tries: McNally, Stuart 2. Cons: B. Spencer 2.

Scorers for London Irish . Tries: Creevy. Cons: Jackson. Pens: Jackson 2.

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