Planet Rugby

Bath

Bath

Preview: Bath v Exeter

07th March 2014 12:18

Share:

Guy Mercer for Bath

Comeback: Guy Mercer

Guy Mercer will make his first start for Bath since October on Sunday as they welcome Exeter in the LV= Cup semi-final.

Mercer is joined in the back-row by the returning Matt Garvey on the blindside and Leroy Houston at number eight.

Ryan Caldwell joins captain Stuart Hooper in the engine room, with Eusebio Guinazu flanked at hooker by Nathan Catt and Argentina teammate Juan Pablo Orlandi.

In the half-backs, Martin Roberts and Tom Heathcote resume their partnership, with Horacio Agulla and Semesa Rokoduguni named out wide on the wings.

Ollie Devoto, nominated for this year's LV= Breakthrough Player award, combines with Gavin Henson in the midfield, whilst Nick Abendanon completes the line-up from full-back.

Meanwhile, Exeter boss Rob Baxter insists getting the "nuts and bolts right" will be the key to seeing off Bath in the LV= Cup semi-final.

Unlike previous rounds where Baxter again used the LV= Cup to utilise his playing squad to the full, this weekend it will be a near full-strength Chiefs line-up that takes to the field at The Rec.

Although missing Jack Nowell and Tom Johnson to England duty, the remainder of the Exeter team looks impressive.

Johnson's absence means Dave Ewers is shunted from number eight to blindside; Kai Horstmann anchors the scrum; whilst there is a first start since January for Chris Whitehead, who takes over at hooker from Luke Cowan-Dickie.

The back division remains untouched from last time out, but on the bench there are recalls for James Hanks and former Bath favourite James Scaysbrook.

"We'll be going full-on, for obvious reasons - it's the first time we've been in the semi-finals, the final's at Sandy Park and we want to keep some momentum from the win against London Irish," said Baxter.

"We've performed well at Bath in the last couple of years - we've scored tries and scored plenty of points, the key for us again is making sure we get our game-management right and defensively we're very sound. That will make us a difficult team to beat because we do score points."

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Mat Gilbert, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Ben Williams, 23 Matt Banahan

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 James Hanks, 20 James Scaysbrook, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo

Date: Sunday, March 9
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kickoff: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

  • Bath Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , December 20
Gloucester vs Bath15:00
Saturday , December 27
Bath vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , January 3
Leicester vs Bath15:00
Saturday , January 10
Bath vs Wasps15:00
Sunday , February 15
Saracens vs Bath15:00
Saturday , February 21
Bath vs Northampton15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , December 5
Montpellier vs Bath19:45
Friday , December 12
Bath vs Montpellier19:45
Saturday , January 17
Toulouse vs BathTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
  • Bath Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Saturday , November 15
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 8
Exeter 18 - 6 BathExeter vs Bath Report
Saturday , November 1
Bath 47 - 7 London Welsh
More LV= Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bath 19 - 21 Toulouse
Saturday , October 18
Glasgow 37 - 10 Bath
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , October 12
Wasps 29 - 22 Bath
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821