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Preview: Bath v Harlequins

20th December 2013 11:37

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SKY_MOBILE Karl Dickson Harlequins

Returning: Karl Dickson

Harlequins have made just two changes to their starting lineup to take on Bath in Saturday's Premiership clash at The Rec.

Paul Doran Jones and Karl Dickson start at tighthead prop and scrum-half respectively, in place of Will Collier and Danny Care who picked up knocks last week.

Among the replacements, Max Crumpton is named. Crumpton, a former England U20 hooker, has arrived from Saracens due to injury to three of the four hookers at Harlequins. Tom Guest returns from injury and is joined by Sam Stuart.

Meanwhile, Bath have made seven changes to the starting lineup that scored 11 tries against Rugby Mogliano last week.

All seven returning players are internationals. In the pack, Rob Webber and Anthony Perenise form the front row with Paul James, with Dave Attwood coming back to partner captain Stuart Hooper in the engine room. Carl Fearns shifts to number eight as Francois Louw takes the openside shirt and Matt Garvey continues on the blindside.

George Ford is joined in the half-backs by 98-capped Peter Stringer, who made his 100th appearance in European competition when he came off the bench last week against Mogliano.

Out wide, Horacio Agulla is selected on the right wing and Matt Banahan, who celebrated his 150th appearance for Bath last weekend with a quartet of tries, continues on the left. Jonathan Joseph combines with Kyle Eastmond in the midfield, and Anthony Watson completes the line-up at full-back.

Form: Bath Rugby have won their last ten fixtures in all competitions since their 13-19 reversal at Sale Sharks in Aviva Premiership Rugby on October 4. Bath's only defeat at The Rec in 2013 was when Stade Franšais were the visitors in the quarter-final of last year's Amlin Challenge Cup. Bath's most recent defeat at The Rec in the Premiership was 0-22 to Saracens on December 22 2012. Harlequins have won their last four fixtures in all tournaments, and have not been defeated in the Premiership since their trip to London Irish in Round Five - making them currently the best away side in thetournament with 19 league points from their five trips so far. Bath have been victorious just once in their last six fixtures with Harlequins: 21-18 at The Rec in November 2012.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10, George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19. Dominic Day, 20 Leroy Houston, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Ollie Devoto

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague

Date: Saturday, December 21
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey, Paul Dix
Television match official: Rowan Kitt

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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
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4Exeter26
5Northampton26