Planet Rugby



Preview: Harlequins v Bath

12th April 2013 12:05



Quins: Looking to avoid five defeats on the trot in all competitions

Harlequins will be out to halt a three-match losing streak in the Aviva Premiership when they host Bath at the Stoop on Saturday.

There are four changes to the starting line-up that lost to Munster in last week's Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Sam Smith starts on the left wing, partnering Mike Brown and Tom Williams in the back three. In the centres, Matt Hopper is named alongside George Lowe.

In the forwards, Joe Gray starts at hooker, with Tom Guest partnering captain Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter in the back-row.

Luke Wallace and Ugo Monye are named among the replacements.

Meanwhile, Dave Attwood will return to Bath's starting line-up in one of six personnel changes and he partners captain Stuart Hooper in the second row.

Ross Batty takes the number two shirt and scrums down between international duo Paul James and David Wilson in the front row. Mat Gilbert comes onto the openside flank, as Francois Louw shifts to the blindside and Simon Taylor to number eight.

The southern hemisphere pairing of Michael Claassens and Stephen Donald resume their half-back partnership, whilst Argentinian international Horacio Agulla moves back on to the right wing with young flyer Olly Woodburn on the left.

Army star Semesa Rokoduguni returns to join Kyle Eastmond in the centres, with Ollie Devoto continuing at full-back.

From the bench, Argentinian hooker Eusebio Guinazu could be in line to make his Premiership debut, with Guy Mercer being named in a matchday squad for the first time since January.

Form: Harlequins have slipped to three straight defeats in the Aviva Premiership and have not lost four in a row in the competition in the same season since early in 2006/07. 'Quins have won just two of their last five fixtures in all competitions played at Twickenham Stoop. Bath's only victory in their last four encounters in all competitions was 40-25 over London Welsh in the Premiership on 30th March. Bath's solo away victory in the Premiership this season was 24-23 at Worcester in round 1. The two clubs have already met on three occasions this season, twice in the Anglo Welsh Cup and once in the Premiership, with all games going in favour of the home team. Bath beat Harlequins 21-18 at the Rec in round 9, and have not achieved a season's double over the Londoners since 1999/2000. Bath's most recent victory at The Stoop was 24-18 in the European Challenge Cup in December 2006.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Matt Hopper, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ugo Monye.

Bath: 15 Ollie Devoto, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Semesa Rokoduguni, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Olly Wodburn, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Mat Gilbert, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Date: Saturday, April 13
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 14.15 BST
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Ashley Rowden
Television match official: Geoffrey Warren

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