Preview: Bath v Saracens

Date published: October 2 2014

Bath-v-Saracens-Semesa-Rokoduguni-Chris-Wyles_3092311

David Wilson will make his 100th appearance for Bath on Friday when they host Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens at The Rec.

David Wilson will make his 100th appearance for Bath on Friday when they host Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens at The Rec.

The tighthead prop, who joined the West Country side in the summer of 2009, makes his milestone appearance in a side that sees just one change from last weekend.

Wilson is joined in the front-row by his international colleagues Rob Webber and Paul James, with captain Stuart Hooper and Dave Attwood combining in the engine room. The hard-hitting trio of Alafoti Fa’osiliva, Guy Mercer and Leroy Houston start in the back-row.

The talented young duo of Chris Cook and George Ford continue pulling the strings in the half-backs, and Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph provide a dynamic threat from the midfield. Flyers Olly Woodburn and Semesa Rokoduguni are named out wide and Gavin Henson comes in at full-back in place of Luke Arscott.

On the bench, Ross Batty, David Sisi, Micky Young and Anthony Watson could all make their return from injury.

Meanwhile, after sitting out Saracens last two fixtures captain Alistair Hargreaves returns to skipper the side from lock forward alongside George Kruis.

Mark McCall keeps the same front-row that played against Sale Sharks last weekend, with Rhys Gill, Jamie George and tighthead James Johnston all named to start.

Kelly Brown returns to the side at blindside flanker and joins Jacques Burger and Billy Vunipola in the back-row.

Neil de Kock partners Charlie Hodgson at half-back, with Chris Wyles returning to the side at centre alongside Duncan Taylor. Wyles replaces Brad Barritt, who misses the game due to a minor calf injury.

In the back three, Alex Goode continues at full-back, with David Strettle and Chris Ashton named on the wings.

Form: Bath’s perfect start to the new Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign ended with their 24-31 defeat at Northampton on Saturday. Bath are unbeaten at the Recreation Ground in their last five matches in all tournaments and have managed to gain a try bonus point in four of those encounters. Saracens top the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and are now the only side remaining with a 100 percent winning record. Saracens only away defeat in Premiership Rugby in 2014 came at Leicester in round 22 last season. Saracens have won their last eight fixtures with Bath since the west country outfit were victorious 16-14 at Vicarage Road in February 2010. Sarries have won on their last five visits to The Rec, a visitors record at the venue.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Gavin Henson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Alafoti Fa’osiliva, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dominic Day, 20 David Sisi, 21 Micky Young, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Anthony Watson

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 George Kruis, 3 James Johnston, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Ben Ransom

Date: Friday, October 3
Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Greg Garner (69th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Geoff Warren

COMMENTS