Preview: Harlequins v Bath

Date published: November 25 2016

Nick Evans captains Harlequins on his 200th appearance for the club this weekend against Bath at The Stoop.

Will Collier starting at tighthead prop will make his 100th appearance. Marland Yarde and Tim Visser have been released from international duty this week and start on the wings.

The forward pack, comprised of the returning Jack Clifford and George Merrick, are all English qualified graduates of the Harlequins Academy.

Speaking ahead of the match Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston, said: “Bath will present a stern challenge given their particularly good start to the season. That said, we possess a 100 percent record in all competitive matches at The Stoop and we will be doing all that we can to keep this run going.

“It is pleasing to see the return of Jack Clifford and George Merrick alongside the major career milestones for Nick Evans and Will Collier.

“They have both been fantastic servants for Harlequins in recent years.

“James Horwill misses the match this week after sustaining a finger injury against Leicester Tigers. He is expected to return to action next weekend for the visit to Newcastle Falcons.”

Meanwhile, Australian centre Ben Tapuai will make his starting debut for Bath on Sunday.

Tapuai joins Max Clark in the midfield, who had an impressive return from injury in the win against Bristol last weekend. Out wide Aled Brew comes back into the starting line-up on the left wing with Semesa Rokoduguni, England’s Man of the Match against Fiji, on the right.

Tom Homer provides the threat from full-back, as Dan Bowden starts at fly-half for the first time this season and Darren Allinson continues at scrum-half.

Up front, Tom Dunn starts between Nathan Catt and Kane Palma-Newport in the front row, with the powerful pairing of Matt Garvey and Dave Attwood behind them in the engine room.

Tom Ellis on the openside, Guy Mercer on the blindside and Zach Mercer coming in at number eight form the back row.

Form: Harlequins’ last six matches in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day. The Londoners have won their last six home games in all competitions since Exeter beat them at Twickenham Stoop in Round 22 last season. Bath’s only defeat in the last nine rounds of the Premiership was 14-34 at Leicester on 25 September, whilst their four away games in the tournament this season have yielded only 11 tries (5 for and 6 against ). Harlequins achieved a Premiership double over Bath last season for the first time since season 2011/12 whilst Bath’s only victory at the Twickenham Stoop in Premiership Rugby since September 2004 came in May 2015.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Joe Marchant, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans (c), 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Jack Clifford, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Charlie Walker

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Matt Garvey (c), 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Levi Douglas, 21 Will Homer, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Matt Banahan

Date: Sunday, November 27
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart, Simon McConnell
TMO: David Rose