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Premier League: London Irish 47-38 Bath Two hat-tricks as Irish beat Bath in 13-try thriller

Ben Loader (left) scored his first hat-trick for the Irish, while Ollie Hassell Collins scored three or more tries in a game for the third time
Irish London: (35) 47
Trying to: Hassell-Collins 3, Loader 3, Jackson Cons: Jackson 6
Bath: (5) 38
Trying to: Hamer-Webb, Gallagher, Coconasiga, Annette 2, Frances Cons: Bailey 4

London Irish heaped more misery on struggling Bath, scoring seven tries in an entertaining 47-38 victory.

Ollie Hassell-Collins hit a hat-trick and Ben Loader scored twice as the Irish secured a bonus point after half an hour – Gabriel Hammer-Webb’s try a rare plus for Bath.

Matt Gallagher and Joe Coconasiga scored for Bath shortly after the break before Loader completed his hat-trick.

Bath debutant Niall Annett scored twice late on to seal a losing bonus point.

But any hope of a comeback was dashed when Paddy Jackson scored a seventh Irish try in the closing minutes for the Exiles before Piers Francis converted for Bath in the final game.

The Irish got off to a flying start as winger Hessel-Collins headed in four minutes after Will Joseph’s break, followed by Loder’s acrobatics in the corner 10 minutes later.

Gallagher’s brilliant offload, which sent Hamer-Webb through, looked to have brought the Blue, Black and White back, but the Irish soon restored their lead when Hassell-Collins fed Loader.

Having lost GJ van Velze and Josh McNally to injury, Bath’s woes continued as Josh Bayliss was sin-binned for not rolling back and Hassell-Collins took advantage of the extra man to go over in the corner for the second before making ditto for his third as Bath’s wide area defense left much to be desired.

Bath had to make amends after the break and they did when Gallagher found the cross after a good counter from Wesley White, before six minutes later Coconasiga kicked a pair of tackles with Bath seconds on the line.

After seeing fellow winger Hessel-Collins get three tries, Loader made sure he claimed a share of the match ball when he slipped between Francis and Max Ojom to go under the posts with 24 minutes remaining.

But Bath were not without a fight as they scored three tries in the last 10 minutes. Annett, who was returning from suspension following a red card coming on as a substitute last month, scored twice from close range before ex-Ireland midfielder Jackson replied.

Irish were reduced to 13 men after Api Ratuniarova and Will Goodrick-Clarke were booked, allowing former Worcester prostitute Annette to find space to set up Francis for Bath’s sixth try.

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney:

“We tend to entertain, but the performance in the second half was unacceptable.

“Luckily we were able to score at the right moment to keep our noses in front but we’ll have to learn some lessons from that as on other days we can find ourselves on the other side.

“When you lose momentum, it’s very difficult to get it back because if you concede a try, you’re probably in danger of conceding more.

“We scored some good tries in the first half and were on our game for 36 of the 40 minutes. In the second half, we were in the game for only 10 of the 40 minutes.”

Bath, Head of Rugby Johan van Graan:

“It’s another loss, so I’m not proud of the game, but I’m proud of the reaction to come back.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to concede 35 points in the first half and then win the second half 33-12, but we started by losing the first line-out, then two scrums before taking unnecessary penalties.

“It’s just not good enough and there are no excuses as we have to learn to play for 80 minutes.

“You can’t control injuries, but we lost two subs with serious problems that could have kept them out for months.

“We want to bring in some bodies because we’ve had a lot of serious injuries in the first three weeks.”

London Irish: Arundel; Loader, W Joseph, van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins; Jackson, White; Fischetti, Creevy, Chavatama, Ratuniyarova, Simmons, Donnell, Pearson, Rogerson (capt.).

Replacements: Weiner, Goodrick-Clark, Hoskins, Caulfield, Gonzalez, Cunningham-South, Englefield, Stokes.

Bath: Gallagher; Cokanasiga, J Joseph, Ojomoh, Hamer-Webb; Bailey, Schroeder; Schoeman, Dunn (capt), Stewart, Roux, McNally, van Welze, Reid, Bayliss

Replacements: Annette, Boyce, Ray, Ellis, White, Green, Francis, McConachie

Judge: Carl Dixon

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