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
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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