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Preview: Bath v London Irish

30th December 2011 14:19

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Tom Biggs brought down by Delon Armitage in London Irish against Bath

Back for Bath: Tom Biggs

Bath have made six changes to their side for the Aviva Premiership New Year's Day clash with London Irish at the Rec.

Dan Hipkiss, Tom Biggs and Simon Taylor all return to the home starting XV.

Taylor lines up alongside Andy Beattie and Francois Louw in the back row, as Dave Attwood and Ryan Caldwell continue in the second row. Ross Batty starts at hooker, with Nathan Catt and Anthony Perenise packing down either side in the front row.

Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens continue to build their half-back partnership, and Nick Abendanon remains at full-back. Dan Hipkiss comes in at outside centre, partnering Matt Banahan, who shifts inside from the wing. Tom Biggs is named on the wing, with Matt Carraro starting on the opposite side.

On the bench, there is a welcome return from injury for Ben Skirving, and Kyle Eastmond could make his first appearance in Bath colours if called on.

Meanwhile, Nick Kennedy will return to the London Irish second row.

Kennedy is one of three changes from the starting side that triumphed over Exeter Chiefs at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday. James Buckland and England international, Alex Corbisiero, both come into the front row to partner Paulica Ion. Declan Danaher will captain the side from the back row.

Form: It's now four straight losses for Bath in Aviva Premiership Rugby - they haven't lost five in a row in the tournament since season 2001/02. Bath have slipped to defeat in three of their last four games at The Rec. London Irish maintained third place in the table with their 29-22 victory over Exeter at Madejski Stadium, but away from home have won just twice in the Premiership in the past 14 months: against Sale at Bolton and at Northampton. The Exiles have won only one of their last nine encounters with Bath since 2008: 16-0 at The Rec on 28 November 2009.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Will Tanner, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 David Wilson, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Kyle Eastmond.

London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Tom Homer, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Richard Thorpe 7 Jamie Gibson 6 Declan Danaher (c) 5 Bryn Evans 4 Nick Kennedy 3 Paulica Ion 2 James Buckland 1 Alex Corbisiero
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Clarke Dermody, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Adam Thompstone, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Paul Hodgson.

Date: Sunday, January 1
Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 13.30
Referee: Martin Fox

  • Bath Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Sunday , October 12
Wasps vs Bath14:00
Saturday , November 15
Bath vs Newcastle15:00
Saturday , November 22
London Irish vs Bath15:00
Saturday , November 29
Bath vs Harlequins15:00
Saturday , December 20
Gloucester vs Bath15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 18
Glasgow vs Bath15:15
Saturday , October 25
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Saturday , December 6
Montpellier vs BathTBC
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  • Bath Results
Recent Results
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
Saturday , September 13
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Saturday , September 6
Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39