London Irish 16 Bath 20: James books into kicking rehab after nightmare with the boot

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The Independent Online

Butch James has been booked in for a kicking clinic with the former record Test points-scorer Neil Jenkins, which is aimed at restoring the confidence of the South Africa fly-half.

James missed all five of his kicks at goal against Gloucester last week and there was only a marginal improvement at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, when he found the target with two of his five attempts.



Though James raised his right fist in mock triumph when he eventually located the target with the simplest of kicks, he later fluffed two penalties and handed over duties to the inexperienced Jack Cuthbert.



James will now work with Jenkins, who combines his commitments as Wales' kicking coach with a part-time role with Bath, at a session tomorrow.



"He's just got to take a little bit more time over the ball instead of snapping at it," said Bath's head coach, Steve Meehan. "I'm sure, after spending a bit of time with Neil on Tuesday morning, he will be better for it."



Cuthbert, who probably would not have started if Matt Banahan had been fit, has already benefited from sessions with Jenkins and Grant Fox, having spent time working with the former All Black at an academy in New Zealand during the summer.



Cuthbert, a former Scotland Under-19 international, showed composure to land all but one of his four penalties and decide a woeful contest in which the quality of rugby was little better than the kicking. Ten were missed in total, with the Exiles' pair of Eoghan Hickey and Peter Hewat responsible for six of them.



"If you don't kick your goals you are going to put yourself into a close match," said Toby Booth, the Exiles' head coach.



James, despite his place-kicking problems, still played a clever tactical game and scored Bath's only try after good approach work by Joe Maddock.



Elvis Sevealii's late try secured a bonus point for the Exiles but it was a first Premiership try for the England Under-20 prop Alex Corbisiero, the latest talent to emerge from their academy, that encouraged Booth most of all.



"If you are good enough and display that, then you stay in. There are no sacred cows at London Irish," Booth said.



London Irish: Tries Corbisiero, Sevealii; Penalties Hewat, Hickey. Bath: Try James; Penalties James 2, Cuthbert 3.



London Irish: P Hewat (E Sevealii, 55); T Ojo, D Armitage, S Mapusua (capt), S Tagicakibau; E Hickey, P Richards (P Hodgson, 59); A Corbisiero (J Fisher, 69), D Paice (D Coetzee, 59), F Rautenbach (T Lea'aetoa, 61), N Kennedy, G Johnson, R Thorpe, S Armitage, C Hala'ufia.



Bath: N Abendanon; J Maddock, A Crockett (T Cheeseman, 64), E Fuiamano-Sapolu (S Berne, 55), J Cuthbert; B James, M Claassens (S Bemand, 63); D Barnes (D Flatman, 63), L Mears (P Dixon, 50), D Bell (L Mears, 50), J Harrison, P Short, S Hooper, M Lipman (capt), J Scaysbrook.



Referee: D Pearson (Ashington) replaced by A Rowden (Reading), 38.

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