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Preview: Bath v Worcester

02nd March 2012 12:37

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Charlie Beech

Fronting up: Bath prop Charlie Beech

Bath have made just two changes to the starting line-up as they prepare to face Worcester at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Both changes are in the front row, with Charlie Beech coming in at loosehead and Duncan Bell starting at tighthead. They scrum down in the front row with Lee Mears, who starts at hooker.

Dave Attwood and Ryan Caldwell continue their partnership in the second row, with Ben Skirving, Francois Louw and Simon Taylor completing the pack.

The backline remains the same, with Michael Claassens and Tom Heathcote controlling the game from the half-backs, Olly Barkley and Matt Carraro teaming up in the centres, and Matt Banahan and Tom Biggs out wide on the wings. Sam Vesty completes the starting XV at full-back.

There are also changes in the front row replacements, with Pieter Dixon, David Flatman and Kane Palma-Newport all being named on the bench.

Meanwhile, Worcester wing Tom Arscott returns to the Warriors' starting line-up. Arscott is named in the team for the league encounter with Chris Pennell reverting to full-back.

A change in the front row sees hooker Ed Shervington start the game as head coach Richard Hill makes a total of three changes to the side that defeated champions Saracens in the last fixture.

Lock James Percival is unavailable for selection due to a virus and his place in the second row is taken by Craig Gillies with Ben Gulliver called up to the bench.

Fit-again loose forward Kai Horstmann makes a welcome return to replacements and could make his first league appearance since the end of September.

Errie Claassens (knee), Marcel Garvey (concussion) and Joe Carlisle (hip) all miss the game through injury.

"We are looking forward to going down to Bath and trying to maintain our good run of form this year in the Aviva Premiership," said Hill, who will return to one of his former clubs.

"We know the size of the task that faces us. Bath have been in the Heineken Cup this year, have hit some form in recent times and have a top six squad - there is no doubt about that.

"However, we are brimming full of confidence after our league win over champions Saracens last Friday night and start to 2012. We have to go down to The Rec and display that confidence and willingness to play whilst being aware that Bath are a very dangerous team."

Form: Bath's only reversal in their last six matches in all competitions was 11-14 at home to Gloucester on February 18. That defeat, which was last time out at the Rec, ended a four game winning run at the famous old venue. Worcester's last four games in the Aviva Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day. The Warriors have not won away from home in any tournament since beating Wasps on the own soil 6-0 on New Year's Day. Worcester beat Bath 16-7 at Sixways in round nine but have never completed a Premiership double over Bath in the same season. The Warriors have never won in seven previous visits to The Rec in all competitions.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Sam Vesty, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Ben Skirving, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Charlie Beech.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 David Flatman, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Guy Mercer, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Olly Woodburn, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry (c), 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 George Porter, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Ben Gulliver, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.

Date: Saturday, 4 March
Venue: The Rec
Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner

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