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A Touch of The Blarney? London Irish v Bath


Charteris: key

By P G Tips
November 16 2017

Both teams may need a touch of the blarney when their Premiership campaigns resume on Sunday. London Irish, in 11th place and two games adrift of the league’s main body will want to talk themselves out of trouble. Bath, with a habit this season of losing to teams they are expected to beat, will be seeking some flair to enhance the grit of their last two victories. This is the Autumn International period and the hosts, less disrupted by call-ups will hope to spring a surprise. Bath must be both bold and wary.

Irish, having started brightly against Quins on their return to the top flight must be thanking Worcester’s woes for their hopes of Premiership survival. Two wins from eleven in all competitions, with only one Premiership victory tells the tale of a side struggling to adapt to their new status. For all that, they must not be taken lightly. In Franks, Paice, Du Plessis and Cowan they have the basis of a grizzled pack. Behind, Meehan and Marshal are tidy halfbacks who will keep the game in the right part of the pitch to exert pressure on their visitors. Their backline may not have clicked fully yet, but they did open with a try bonus against Quins, their tries for stand at 15 in the league –only 2 behind Bath. While Topsy Ojo is expected to be a long term injury absentee, that simply opens a place for the highly promising Cokanasiga. With Lewington on the other wing plus Tonks and Tikoirotuma in the centre they have ample gas and gain line breaking ability.  In front of a home crowd, with Bath ravaged by international call-ups and injury, they will be hopeful of a rare win.

 

Bath have 12 players in various international squads this week, even if some, like Mercer and Andrews are there for training purpose only. With the addition of another 12 afflicted by injury preparation will have been doubly disrupted. They still retain though a core of experience and quality and there is some good news on the injury front: Garvey, Cook, Fotuali’i and Brew are all in consideration for selection. To win they will need some wise heads to help them through the tense final ten that seems to be a staple of Bath matches this season. The squad which takes the field may be dictated more by absences than choice, but there are leaders available in all areas of the team. Areas to work on are the lineout and exit strategy, which were both sloppy in the narrow win over Leicester last weekend. As always closing out a game will be a concern, although it was good to see Freddie Burns take the pragmatic route last Friday.

 

Key men for Bath are likely to be the front row, Charteris and the recently impressive Bayliss up front, Burns, Tapuai and Homer behind. Bath should have the edge on the bench so will be looking for good start and a half time lead on which to build. Bath have the quality and finishing power to take the win and enjoy the post match craic. This is the sort of match a club aspiring to a top 4 place needs to win – depleted or not. Bath need a truly fluent performance, with a touch of flair (dare one say devilish blarney?) to set them up for some tough fixtures ahead. Even on an international weekend, they will not relish the thought of Premiership strugglers making eejits of them. It should be Bath, not Irish eyes that are smiling at the end, but only if the hard work is done and the chances are taken.

 

Possible Teams:

Bath:

Auterac, Dunn, Perenise, Stooke, Charteris, Garvey, (Capt.), Bayliss, Grant. Cook, Burns. Banahan, Tapuai, Clark, Wilson. Homer

Replacements: Obano, Walker, Andrews, Phillips, Mercer. Allinson, Lewis, Brew.

 

London Irish:
Franks, Paice, Du Plessis, v Der Merwe, De Chaves, McNally, Cowan, Schatz. Meehan, Marshall. Cokanasiga, Tonks, Tikoirotuma, Lewington. Bell

Replacements:
Gleave, Elrington, Hoskins, Paulo, Lomidze, Steele, Brophy-Clewes, Fowlie

 

 

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A Touch of The Blarney? London Irish v Bath
16/11/2017 10:31
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:11:23:13:30:39 by CoochieCoo.

 
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Clarkey3k (IP Logged)

Re: A Touch of The Blarney? London Irish v Bath
19/11/2017 11:31
It's a bright but chilly morning in Berkshire, conditions should permit an open, running game. Only 3hr to go. COUB!!

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