Bath 20-13 London Irish, Aviva Premiership, September 11
Meehan: We were comfortable
September 11, 2010
Declan Danaher drives in to heavy traffic © Getty Images
Bath boss Steve Meehan hailed a workmanlike performance from his team after they maintained their unbeaten start to the Aviva Premiership campaign against London Irish.
Bath had to dig deep for their 20-13 victory, subduing an Irish side that had number eight George Stowers sent off for a dangerous tackle and centre Elvis Seveali'i sin-binned during an eventful second period.
Bath fell behind two minutes from time when Irish wing Johnathan Joseph scored in the corner and fly-half Ryan Lamb added the touchline conversion, but their response was immediate as fullback Nick Abendanon - who was the victim of Stowers' tackle - crossed with just six minutes of injury-time left.
Meehan said: "To be honest, I felt comfortable the entire game, particularly in the second half when we looked a lot better as a team. It was tight, but it was always going to be. Both teams defended pretty well - there were only one or two half-chances that opened up, and your accuracy has to be excellent to take them.
"We took our try well, and our attitude and commitment was great. We really had to work hard to win that game, and the attitude out there was fantastic."
Victory, though, came at a cost for Bath, as they lost four of their international players through injury. England trio Matt Banahan (hamstring), Lee Mears (biceps) and prop David Flatman (neck/shoulder) all failed to last the distance, as did summer signing Simon Taylor, who also suffered hamstring trouble.
But Bath dug deep to follow up last weekend's bonus-point victory at Leeds with another triumph ahead of next Friday's testing appointment at Northampton. England captain Lewis Moody made his home debut for Bath in the Premiership, and it was a typically tireless performance from the former Leicester flanker who relished what was a full-on contest.
He said: "It was a good battle defensively, a tough encounter, and the forwards really had to make those hard yards. When you are at home for the first time in the season getting a win is a big confidence-booster, especially after you have fallen behind late in the game.
"I never thought we were going to lose, but as often happens when teams go down by one or two players it can be a kick in the backside for that team to come and play a bit more rugby."
Irish boss Toby Booth came straight to the point when asked about Stowers' second-half dismissal.
"I have seen it, and the fact I am not going to comment on it speaks volumes," he said. "The only person whose opinion is relevant is the referee (Dave Pearson). Defensively, I was delighted with the performance. We made more than 150 tackles and for much of the game we managed to shut down an extremely potent attacking side like Bath."
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