Preview: Leeds Carnegie v Bath

Date published: September 3 2010

Bath will field a strong team on Sunday for their opening Aviva Premiership game, as they travel to Headingley to face Leeds Carnegie.

Bath will field a strong team on Sunday for their opening Aviva Premiership game, as they travel to Headingley to face Leeds Carnegie.

Forwards coach, Martin Haag, believes that after a good pre-season, the team are determined to kick-off the new season with a win.

“The club is really going forward, both on and off the field, especially with the developments at Farleigh,” he said.

“We had a good pre-season camp to Aix in France, which went very well, and a couple of good pre-season games, so all in all its been very, very good and we are ready to get on with the season.”

Luke Watson will be leading the team out as club captain for the first time in the Aviva Premiership. New signings Simon Taylor, Lewis Moody and Sam Vesty make their first competitive starts for Bath, with fellow new boys Tom Biggs and Mark McMillan providing cover from the bench.

Meanwhile, Leeds Carnegie coaching duo of Andy Key and Neil Back have named seven debutants in their 23 man squad

There are five new faces in the starting line up. In the pack Argentinean born prop Miguel Alonso will start at loosehead whilst former Bath number eight Daniel Browne will come up against his old club.

There is another former Bath man in the backline in full back Michael Stephenson, with both having made the move from the Recreation Ground during the summer.

Australian international Lachlan MacKay will start at inside centre whilst dual code Fiji Test winger Semi Tadulala is on the wing.

The other two debutants will make their first appearance off the bench in Steve Thompson and Warren Fury.

Form: The two teams met on the final day of last season when Bath ran out comfortable winners at the Recreation Ground. However the meeting at Headingley Carnegie earlier in the season was a much closer affair with Michael Stephenson scoring the winner for Bath in a 15-20 win. Leeds have not won on the opening weekend of a Premiership season since they defeated Leicester 26-13 at Headingley Carnegie in 2002, but have won three of their last four home matches. Bath will be playing away from home on the opening weekend for a third successive season, and visit Headingley Carnegie in round one for the third time, losing 6-10 in 2001 and winning 44-32 in 2003. Bath's only defeat in their last dozen Premiership regular season matches was 20-43 at Leicester in April.

The teams:

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Lachlan MacKay, 11 Semi Tadulala, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Tom Denton, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Miguel Alonso
Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Alfie To'oala, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Scott Barrow, 23 Leigh Hinton.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Shontayne Hape, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Sam Vesty, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Luke Watson (c), 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Simon Taylor, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Flatman
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Andy Beattie, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Biggs, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Date: Sunday, September 5
Venue: Headingley Carnegie
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: J.P.Doyle