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Preview: Bath v London Welsh

29th March 2013 11:19

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Semesa Rokoduguni scoring for Bath

On the wing: Semesa Rokoduguni

Bath have made five changes to the starting line-up that narrowly lost out to Sale Sharks last weekend ahead of facing London Welsh.

Bath Academy and England U20's Six Nations winner Ollie Devoto comes into the full-back role for his second start in the Premiership, with Argentinian international Horacio Agulla and Fijian Army star Semesa Rokoduguni outside him on either wing.

Matt Banahan and Kyle Eastmond continue their centre partnership, whilst in the half-backs All Black Stephen Donald returns to the fly-half shirt, combining with Peter Stringer to orchestrate proceedings forming a partnership of considerable experience.

The front-row is unchanged from the trip to Salford, with Paul James and David Wilson scrumming down either side of Rob Webber in an all international front-row. Dominic Day comes into the second-row alongside Club captain Stuart Hooper, in place of the injured Dave Attwood.

Mat Gilbert, who it was announced had extended his contract with the club this week, joins Francois Louw packing down on the flanks, with Carl Fearns shifting to the number eight shirt at the base of the scrum.

If called upon from the bench, Ben Skirving will come onto pitch for his 100th appearance.

Meanwhile, London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones makes three changes for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Bath at the Recreation Ground.

One of those changes comes in the backs with Alex Davies coming into the side at scrum half in place of Tyson Keats. Rob Lewis is named on the bench as scrum-half cover.

In the forwards, Franck Montanella has failed a fitness test, meaning Tom Bristow now starts at loosehead, with Greg Bateman named at hooker and Dan George moving to the bench.

Arthur Joly takes Bristow's place on the bench with Paulica Ion named at tighthead.

Welsh go into the game with three ex-Bath players in their matchday 23 - Jonathan Mills, Daniel Browne and Nick Scott. Indeed when the sides met at the Kassam Stadium earlier in the season, Welsh snatched victory right at the death thanks to Scott's interception try.

Form:The Exiles are currently bottom of the Aviva Premiership table and this week lost their appeal for fielding an ineligible player, meaning wins are needed and quick to avoid relegation. London Welsh have not managed a victory in the Aviva Premiership since December 1 when London Irish visited the Kassam Stadium and were downed 15-9. The Exiles have also tallied just two away wins this season, one in the Aviva Premiership at Sale Sharks and one in the European Challenge Cup at Club I Cavalier Prato. London Welsh did beat Bath 16-9 in Oxford in November while their only previous meeting at the Rec in competitive rugby came in the fourth round of the John Player Special Cup in February 1987, with the home side victorious 30-4.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Ollie Devoto, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Semesa Rokoduguni, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Mat Gilbert, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Michael Classens, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Nick Abendanon.

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Sonny Parker, 11 Seb Stegmann, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Alex Davies, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Julio Cabello Farias, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (c), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Greg Bateman, 1 Tom Bristow.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Arthur Joly, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Adam Balding, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 James Lewis, 23 Nick Scott.

Date: Saturday, 30 March
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 14:15
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Peter Huckle

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London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821