Bristol edge 11-try thriller against London Irish to climb to Premiership summit

Bristol edge 11-try thriller against London Irish to climb to Premiership summit - GETTY IMAGES
Bristol edge 11-try thriller against London Irish to climb to Premiership summit - GETTY IMAGES

Pat Lam declared himself "happy but not satisfied" after his Bristol team moved top of the Gallagher Premiership.

Bristol's 40-36 victory over London Irish at Ashton Gate made it the first time since 1999 that they have won their first three games of a Premiership season. But they were made to work hard for it in an 11-try thriller as Irish twice went close to wiping out 16-point deficits.

"We got off to a poor start at 10-0 down, but we took a commanding lead by half-time," Bristol rugby director Lam said.

"We scored good tries, and we said that was the solution for the second half, but we brought them (Irish) back into the game.

"As I keep saying every week, five points are on offer, and round one and round three at home we've picked up maximum points, but we are still not humming on all four cylinders at the moment.

"There are some good things in there, but it is a mental game too and I would say we weren't on it as much as we were in the (opening) Bath game.

"I am happy but not satisfied, although five points is what we got, which is the most important thing.

"They (Irish) want to play, they are not afraid to play, and we are the same. I am just thankful that we came through. It is about week to week - five points on offer, go and get them."

England prop Ellis Genge followed his try double for Bristol against Bath a fortnight ago with another touchdown, and there were also first-half scores for hooker Will Capon, wing Luke Morahan and scrum-half Harry Randall.

Ellis Genge barged over from close range for Bristol's third try - GETTY IMAGES
Ellis Genge barged over from close range for Bristol's third try - GETTY IMAGES

Irish were indebted to flashes of brilliance from England international Henry Arundell, who created their opening try and then scored one of his own following an 80-metre breakaway.

But Bristol shaded it after Irish had clawed back to 26-24, with Jake Heenan and Max Lahiff claiming tries in quick succession, while fly-half AJ MacGinty kicked five conversions.

Arundell, scrum-half Ben White, hooker Isaac Miller, centre Benhard van Rensburg and fly-half Paddy Jackson touched down for Irish, with Jackson adding four conversions and a penalty for a 16-point haul.

Irish head coach Les Kiss said: "We started well, 10-0 up and we were very organised and clinical. But there were little moments when we let the opposition back into their gears.

"Our boys don't give up. How we started and finished the game were really pleasing, but there were some patches in the middle that we can be really better at.

"It was discipline at times, we struggled in the scrums for a bit, but those little moments, they (Bristol) made the most of. I think it is all there for us, we just have to put it together more consistently.

"We do make incisive dents in the opposition's game and we use our strengths well, we just probably give the opposition too many times to find their game as well."