Preview: Bath v Leinster

Date published: November 20 2015

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Francois Louw will captain Bath from the openside flank as they host Leinster in the Champions Cup at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Louw is joined in the back-row by blindside Matt Garvey and number eight Leroy Houston, as Dominic Day and Dave Attwood start in the second-row. Up front, Nick Auterac and Henry Thomas start either side of Rob Webber at hooker.

Chris Cook and George Ford combine as the half-backs, with Kyle Eastmond and Ollie Devoto making their fourth consecutive start together in the midfield. A potent back-three is comprised of wings Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni and full-back Anthony Watson.

Meanwhile there are eight personnel changes and two positional changes from the Leinster team that faced Wasps last weekend in the RDS Arena.

Isa Nacewa returns from injury to captain Leinster from full-back, with Dave Kearney on the left wing and Fergus McFadden moving from outside centre to the back three.

Ben Te'o and Luke Fitzgerald, who both missed the defeat to Wasps, return to start together in midfield for the second time this season.

There is also a change in Leinster's half-back pairing as Isaac Boss comes in to replace Eoin Reddan at scrum-half. Johnny Sexton starts once again in the number ten jersey.

Cian Healy and Sean Cronin come in for Jack McGrath and Richardt Strauss, respectively, in the front-row. Mike Ross is Leinster's starting tighthead for the third game in succession. 

Hayden Triggs will start in a European fixture for the first time, alongside Devin Toner in the second-row. 

In the back-row, with Sean O'Brien ruled out, Rhys Ruddock comes in to start at blindside with Jordi Murpy shifting to openside. Jamie Heaslip starts at number eight.

Form: Leinster have won six of their seven matches against Bath, including an 18-15 victory in the 2014/15 quarter finals. Bath have never won a match on home soil against Leinster in the Champions Cup, their only win against the province coming on the road Bath have only won two of their 13 matches against Irish clubs in the competition with the last of those victories occurring in 2005 Leinster have lost only three of their last 17 matches against English opponents in the Champions Cup (W12, D2), however one of those defeats came just last weekend against Wasps.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9, Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 David Attwood, 4 Dom Day, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer.

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Luke Fitzgerald, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Dominic Ryan, 20 Josh Van Der Flier, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Zane Kirchner.

Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Salem Attalah (France), tbc (France)
TMO: Bruno Bessot (France)

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