Preview: Bath v Worcester Warriors

Date published: September 16 2016

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Leroy Houston returns to the Bath starting line-up on Saturday as they take on Worcester Warriors at the Recreation Ground.

Houston, who arrived back at the club this week on a short-term contract, takes his place at number eight, with Charlie Ewels and David Sisi on the flanks either side of him.

Luke Charteris and Dave Attwood continue their partnership in the engine room, whilst Henry Thomas makes his come back from injury alongside Ross Batty and Nick Auterac up front.

In the backs, Dan Bowden makes his first appearance of the season at 12, partnering Matt Banahan in the centre.

Anthony Watson is named on the left wing with double try-scorer against Newcastle, Semesa Rokoduguni, on the right.

Tom Homer is at full-back, with George Ford and Kahn Fotulai’i continuing their successful combination in the half-backs.

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, said: “Leroy has been fantastic since he arrived. We’ve slotted him into a young back row to give us some experience and grunt from the base of the scrum. We’re looking forward to seeing how Dan Bowden, Anthony Watson and Henry Thomas go as they return from injury, and also how Matt Banahan goes at outside centre.

“Obviously we were really pleased with the result against Newcastle last weekend, but we’ve not got carried away this week. There is still lots for us to work on, and the squad have applied themselves really well as we’ve prepared for the visit of Worcester.”

Meanwhile, Warriors Academy youngster Jamie Shillcock is set for his Premiership debut this Saturday.

The 19-year-old starts at full-back and is making his first appearance for Warriors since featuring as a 17-year-old replacement in the 2014/15 Greene King IPA Championship semi-final second leg against London Scottish. 

In the backline, there is also a space for Perry Humphreys off the back of his superb solo try last Friday against Gloucester, while Dean Hammond maintains his spot on the opposite wing. 

Wynand Olivier and Jackson Willison complete the midfield partnership while Tom Heathcote gets his first start of the season alongside scrum-half Jonny Arr.

The pack sees one change with Carl Kirwan replacing Alafoti Faosiliva who serves a one-match ban.

Fly-half Tiff Eden and Academy winger Josh Adams are called up to the replacements along with Fiji's Tevita Cavubati.

Head coach Carl Hogg said: "We've got to make sure we get the right levels of endeavour and energy on the weekend and test ourselves against a good side.

"We've always said we're a side that wanted to create opportunities and someone like Perry took his with both hands last week.

"Some of these guys have been propelled into the Premiership quicker than anticipated but it's about exposing them to the highest level and ultimately whether they can grasp that opportunity."

Form: Bath are one of only three clubs to have won their opening two fixtures having tasted victory at Northampton and at home to Newcastle so far – their 58-5 victory over the Falcons being their biggest margin of victory in a Premiership encounter since 2001. Bath’s only defeat in their last six fixtures at the Recreation Ground was to Saracens in April. Worcester Warriors' five game losing run in the was halted with their 23-all draw with Gloucester on Friday evening. Worcester have not won away from home since a trip to Harlequins in March. Bath have won their last seven contests with Worcester since the Warriors 16-7 victory at Sixways in November 2011. Warriors have lost on all eleven previous visits to the Recreation Ground in all competitions. 

The teams:

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 David Sisi, 6 Charlie Ewels, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Will Homer, 22 Aled Brew, 23 Jeff Williams

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Marco Mama, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 James Johnston, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Mike Daniels, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Tevita Cavubati, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Tiff Eden, 23 Josh Adams

Date: Saturday, September 16
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Philip Watters, Luke Pearce
TMO: Geoff Warren

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