Rugby Union: Bath able to ignore the furore

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The Independent Online
Bath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

London Irish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

IT WOULD be lovely to say that there was less to this than meets the eye, Bath below half-strength and often only able to perform at half pace. Unfortunately, unless you happened to be a blinkered supporter, the reverse was true on a day when an agreement to build a new stand was overshadowed by events the previous weekend, after which the champions found themselves landed with eye-gouging accusations from Harlequins.

All Bath could do then was to get another win under their belts while the jury was still out on claims that Troy Coker, Quins' Australian lock, had been given a violent going-over at The Stoop. In the circumstances, Bath did well to serve up four tries against a gritty Irish in a match which had its own share of scuffles.

At the top of the league pile, Bath of course are constantly there to be shot at - and nor is there any respite, with Wasps the visitors next week for the only all First Division tie in the fourth round of the Pilkington Cup. Bath, though, bear out the philosophy that when the going gets tough the tough get going.

Hence the fact that John Hall led his side from the front here before returning to the club for yesterday afternoon's screening of events that Quins reckoned proved their point over Coker. Quins' claims, though, arrived rather oddly when the editor of a rugby magazine pushed out quotes from the club while seeking a mention for his own publication.

Enter John Quin, Bath's secretary. On his way to Saturday's announcement that Bath are receiving pounds 500,000 from Teacher's, the whisky distillers, towards a new pounds 1.5m stand at the leisure centre end of their ground, he said: 'I've looked at the video and from what I could see the evidence was inconclusive.'

Meanwhile, Bath got on with what they do best - winning. It looked like a rout when Ben Clarke and Martin Haag set up the first try for Mike Catt after a tap penalty and the more so after a sweeping movement led to a line-out take from Pat McCoy which resulted in a touchdown for Mike Lloyd. But only two tries followed.

Bath: Tries Catt, Lloyd, De Glanville, Hill; Conversion Catt; Penalties Callard 2. London Irish: Try Collins; Penalty Corcoran.

Bath: J Callard; A Lumsden, J Bamsey (R Hill, 65), P de Glanville, M Lloyd; M Catt, I Sanders; D Crompton, G Dawe, V Ubogu, M Haag, P McCoy, G Adams, B Clarke, J Hall (capt).

London Irish: R Hennessey; S Geoghegan, S Burns, J Staples, M Corcoran; O Cobbe, R Saunders; N Donovan, R Kellam, G Halpin, A Higgins, S Domoni, P Collins (capt), R Jenkins, H Lamb (A Verling, 44).

Referee: S Lander (Irby, Wirral).

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