Ben White’s two Premiership tries this season have come against Bristol
|London Irish: (17) 23|
|Tries: Janse van Rensburg, White Cons: Jennings 2 Pens: Jennings 3|
|Bristol Bears: (7) 7|
|Tries: Thacker Con: MacGinty|
London Irish moved five points and two places above Premiership bottom-side Bristol Bears with a hard-fought win against the West Country strugglers.
A Rory Jennings penalty and tries from Benhard Janse van Rensburg and Ben White put Irish 17-7 up at the break.
Harry Thacker’s converted try midway through the first half was all that Bristol managed in west London.
Jennings kicked the only points of the second half, sealing a win that moved Irish up to ninth in the table.
A losing bonus point from their narrow defeat against Gloucester last time out ensured the resurgent Exiles went into the bottom-of-the-table clash with Bristol a point and place better off than the visitors, whose win against Harlequins on 27 December was their first Premiership triumph since September.
Jennings, who was called up to start for the Exiles after Paddy Jackson failed a late fitness test, put the hosts ahead in soaking conditions from a seventh-minute penalty kick right in front of the posts.
Bristol hooker Thacker snuck over for the game’s first try midway though the first half to edge them ahead, with AJ MacGinty giving Pat Lam’s side a four-point lead with his conversion.
Van Rensburg, however, restored Irish’s lead, with White then crashing over from close range to give the Exiles a 10-point advantage at half-time.
Jennings added to the lead with a successful penalty kick immediately after the restart, with the day only getting worse for Bears, as they lost Gabriel Ibitoye and Noah Heward to injuries in quick succession soon after.
Jennings missed with his next penalty attempt, but was on target with the boot again late on to complete the home side’s third win in four Premiership games.
London Irish: Loader; Cinti Luna, Morisi, Janse van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins; Jennings, White; Goodrick-Clarke, Willemse, Chawatama; Munga, Simmons, Basham, Pearson, Rogerson.
Replacements: Ruiz, Fischetti, Hoskins, Ratuniyarawa, Gonzalez, Cunningham-South, Powell, Stokes.
Bristol Bears: Heward; Fricker, Radradra, I Lloyd, Ibitoye; MacGinty, Uren; Genge, Thacker, Sinckler; Batley, Vui, Luatua, Heenan, Bradbury.
Replacements: Kerr, Y Thomas, Lahiff, Joyce, D Thomas, Whiteley, Sheedy, Bates.
Referee: Christophe Ridley.