Friday, 13 January 2017

Not long to KO... here's a reminder of the Bath team

Centre Robbie Fruean will make his starting debut for Bath Rugby in the local derby against Bristol Rugby in the European Rugby Challenge Cup at Ashton Gate Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 19:45.

Fruean, who made his first team bow off the bench against Newcastle Falcons last week, will join forces in midfield with Jonathan Joseph, as the team look to cement their place in the knock-out stages of the competition.

Tom Homer returns to the starting line-up at fullback, with Anthony Watson moving to the left wing. Semesa Rokoduguni, who extended his tally to eight tries in the Aviva Premiership in his last outing for the Blue, Black and White, continues on the right wing.

Kahn Fotuali’i returns to the starting line-up at scrum-half, where he will once again link up with George Ford.

Nathan Catt, Tom Dunn and Max Lahiff head up the front row for the third successive game, whilst Charlie Ewels forms a second row combination with Elliott Stooke.

In the back row, Paul Grant comes in at number eight with Zach Mercer moving to blindside flanker and co-captain Francois Louw continuing his run on the openside, with the sights set on recording a third victory over their West Country counterparts this season.

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder said: “We’re really looking forward to getting out there tomorrow night. I’ve quickly learnt that derbies between Bath and Bristol are always huge games, so we know how much this one means to our supporters.

“We’ve picked up a few more knocks, but also have guys returning to the side, like Kahn, Charlie and Tom, and it’ll be exciting to see how Robbie goes in his competitive start for a while.

“Unfortunately Matt Garvey picked up a neck injury at the end of the game against Newcastle. He needs to have surgery on it, so will be out of action for a while, but he’s in great hands with our medical team here and we all wish him a speedy recovery.”

Unavailable for selection: Dave Attwood, Nick Auterac, Matt Banahan, Ross Batty, Dan Bowden, Max Clark, David Denton, Tom Ellis, Taulupe Faletau, Matt Garvey, Henry Thomas

Bath Rugby team to face Bristol Rugby

15. Tom Homer

14. Semesa Rokoduguni

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Robbie Fruean

11. Anthony Watson

10. George Ford (co-captain)

9. Kahn Fotuali’i

1. Nathan Catt

2. Tom Dunn

3. Max Lahiff

4. Charlie Ewels

5. Elliott Stooke

6. Zach Mercer

7. Francois Louw (co-captain)

8. Paul Grant

Replacements

16. Jack Walker

17. Beno Obano

18. Kane Palma-Newport

19. Levi Douglas

20. Guy Mercer

21. Chris Cook

22. Rhys Priestland

23. Ben Tapuai


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Friday, 6 January 2017

A reminder of the Bath Rugby team to face Newcastle Falcons

Anthony Watson will make his first start for Bath Rugby since October against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday in Round 13 of the Aviva Premiership, kick-off 19:45.

The England international marked his return from injury off the bench against Exeter Chiefs on New Year’s Eve and will start at full-back. The wings will once again be occupied by Aled Brew and Semesa Rokoduguni, the Club’s leading try scorer this season.

Jonathan Joseph and Ben Tapuai will continue their exciting partnership in the midfield, with George Ford and Darren Allinson forming a new partnership to orchestrate proceedings at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

In an unchanged front row for Bath’s first game of 2017, Tom Dunn will be supported either side by Max Lahiff and Nathan Catt, whose form was recently rewarded with a place in England’s 45-man EPS for the RBS 6 Nations.

The towering presence of Elliott Stooke and Luke Charteris make up a physical second row, while Tom Ellis and Francois Louw continue at blindside and openside flanker. Zach Mercer completes the starting line-up at number eight, with the 19-year-old facing the side that he made his Aviva Premiership debut against back in September where the Blue, Black and White’s triumphed 58-5.

Hooker Jack Walker and centre Robbie Fruean could make their first team bow against the Falcons off the bench, while Chris Cook and Rhys Priestland make their return to the squad after injury.

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder said: "I think it's really important that we bounce back from the loss to Wasps and Exeter, so we've got to go to Newcastle and front up. This week's been about purpose and making sure we're ready physically and mentally. There's a lot riding on this for us.

"It (Exeter) was probably the most complete performance apart from the end result. Not only did we defend really well, but we attacked with some real vigour ad showed some really encouraging signs. It's a bit of a bitter pill when you lose it, but it's all about getting back on the horse this week."

Unavailable for selection: Dave Attwood, Nick Auterac, Matt Banahan, Ross Batty, Dan Bowden, Max Clark, David Denton, Charlie Ewels, Taulupe Faletau, Kahn Fotuali’i, Henry Thomas





15. Anthony Watson

14. Semesa Rokoduguni

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Ben Tapuai

11. Aled Brew

10. George Ford (co-captain)

9. Darren Allinson

1. Nathan Catt

2. Tom Dunn

3. Max Lahiff

4. Elliott Stooke

5. Luke Charteris

6. Tom Ellis

7. Francois Louw

8. Zach Mercer

Replacements

16. Jack Walker

17. Beno Obano

18. Shaun Knight

19. Matt Garvey (co-captain)

20. Paul Grant

21. Chris Cook

22. Rhys Priestland

23. Robbie Fruean




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