Preview: Bath v London Welsh

Date published: September 12 2014

London Welsh have made five changes for Saturday’s Premiership trip to the Rec to face Bath.

After last week’s hammering at home to Exeter, the Exiles have changed things up in an effort to bounce back quickly.

In the backs, Nic Reynolds starts at outside centre with Tom May named amongst the replacements.

In the forwards, Ollie Stedman comes in to the side at number eight in a move which sees Lachlan McCaffrey switch to blindside flanker and Pete Browne to the second row in place of Dean Schofield.

Nathan Morris is named at hooker in place of Koree Britton. Olly Barkley captains the Exiles against his former club.

“We were bitterly disappointed after last week’s result against Exeter. The performance wasn’t the London Welsh I know – it was unacceptable,” said Head Coach Justin Burnell.

“This week has been purely focused on rectifying those errors and making sure they’ll be a wholehearted performance on Saturday.”

For Bath Chris Cook will make the first Premiership start in a side which shows only three changes to the one which beat Sale Sharks last weekend.

Cook comes in at scrum-half, partnering George Ford, with second row Dave Attwood and blindside Carl Fearns starting after being among the replacements at the AJ Bell Stadium in the opening round.

The half-backs will be playing off a strong platform set by the forwards, spearheaded by a formidable front row of Paul James, Rob Webber and David Wilson.

That front row firepower will be reinforced by second rows Stuart Hooper and Attwood, with Fearns, openside Guy Mercer and flanker Leroy Houston in the back row.

Anthony Watson and Semesa Rokoduguni, both try-scorers last weekend, will seek to pick up where they left off on the wings, with Luke Arscott at full-back in only his second competitive appearance for Bath. The centre partnership of Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph remains unchanged.

Form: Bath’s beat Sale Sharks 29-20 in Salford on Saturday, and their only defeat in a round 1 or 2 encounter in Aviva Premiership Rugby since 2009 came against Saracens in 2011.

Bath have won just one of their last four Premiership fixtures at The Rec: 32-20 over relegated Worcester in round 20 last season.

On Sunday, London Welsh conceded over 50 points in a league game for the first time in almost seven years, with Exeter being responsible on both occasions.

The Exiles have won just one previous away game in the Premiership: 29-19 against Sale at AJ Bell Stadium on 21st September 2012.

Each side won its respective home game when the two clubs met in the Premiership in 2012/13 whilst London Welsh have lost on both previous occasions they have visited the Rec for a competitive fixture, on the 4th round of the Cup in 1987 and the Premiership in March 2013.

The teams:

Bath:15 Luke Arscott, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Alafoti Fa’osiliva, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Matt Banahan

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Nic Reynolds, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Olly Barkley (c), 9 Piri Weepu, 8. Ollie Stedman, 7. Richard Thorpe, 6. Lachlan McCaffrey, 5. James Down, 4. Pete Browne, 3. Taione Vea, 2. Nathan Morris, 1. Ricky Reeves.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Ben Pienaar, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Tristan Roberts, 23 Tom May.

Date: Saturday, September 13
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Matt Carley
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Roger Baileff
TMO: Trevor Fisher