Planet Rugby

Preview: Bath v Saracens

09th September 2011 11:48

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Dave Attwood

Attwood: Set for Bath debut

Bath summer signing Dave Attwood will make his debut for the club when they host Saracens on Saturday.

The former Gloucester and England man comes into the second-row to partner Ryan Caldwell with Will Spencer slotting into the reserves.

Having got their Aviva Premiership campaign off to a winning start with victory over Newcastle last week, forwards coach Martin Haag is keen to maintain the momentum.

"We're preparing for Saracens this week in the same way that we prepared for Newcastle last week, but we know it's going to be a sterner test. They are the present champions and have competed brilliantly with Leicester over the last two years. It's a big test for us and one we are looking forward to," said Haag.

"It's our first game in front of our home crowd. I expect the crowd to be in good voice and confident, and we'll be the same. We've got a chance to play one of the teams that turned us over at home last season and we need to make sure we do a job and come away with a win."

Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall has the luxury of fielding an unchanged starting XV for the trip to the Recreation Ground.

The only changes to the Sarries squad come on the replacements bench where prop Mako Vunipola slots in for the injured Petrus du Plessis (shoulder). Should either Vunipola or winger Joe Maddock get a run out off the bench, they will be make their debut for the club.

Form: Bath have gained six successive victories in Aviva Premiership since their 9-20 reversal at Saracens on 3 April. Bath's only defeat in their last eight games at the Rec in all competitions was 6-37 to Leicester on 26 March. Saracens were defeated 20-15 by London Wasps at Twickenham on Saturday but have not lost back to back Aviva Premiership encounters in the same season since 2009/10. Sarries have won their last five away matches in the competition and another victory will equal their own club record in this category, set in 1997/98. Bath's only win in their last five encounters with Saracens in all competitions was a 16-14 in the Premiership at Vicarage Road on 28 February 2010. Sarries have won on their last two visits to the Rec.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Sam Vesty, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Ben Skirving, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Flatman (capt)
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Paul Roberts, 23 Jack Cuthbert

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Justin Melck, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 George Kruis, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Joe Maddock.

Date: Saturday, September 10
Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15.15 BST (14.15 GMT)
Referee: Greg Garner

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