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Preview: Bath v London Wasps

21st February 2014 10:23

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Nick Abendanon Bath AVP 2013

Nick Abendanon: Back at 15 for Bath

Bath boss Mike Ford has made five changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with Wasps at the Recreation Ground.

In the front row, Nathan Catt and Juan Pablo Orlandi return either side of Ross Batty at hooker, as Dominic Day resumes his partnership with Stuart Hooper in the engine room.

The hard hitting back row of Matt Garvey, Francois Louw and Leory Houston remains the same.

Tom Heathcote combines with Micky Young in the half-backs, and the midfield partnership of Kyle Eastmond and Ollie Devoto is unchanged.

Nick Abendanon starts at full-back, with Anthony Watson and Horacio Agulla out wide on the wings.

Meanwhile, Wasps boss Dai Young has made four changes to the starting fifteen that took to the field in last weekend's loss to London Irish.

Up front, there are three changes which are distributed evenly throughout the pack.

Tom Lindsay is the change in the front row, starting at hooker, James Cannon starts in the second row and Nathan Hughes comes into the back row, having made his first appearance after injury from the bench last weekend.

The sole change in the back-line sees Charlie Davies start at scrum-half, moving Joe Simpson to the bench.

Ahead of the game, Young said: "Last weekend was not an acceptable performance for us. This group of players have set much higher standards than that on a consistent basis this season, having won eight games from eleven in all competitions before last Saturday."

"As a group we have put that display to one side and are now totally focused on producing the kind of performance we have been used to.

"There will be little room for error against a Bath side who are well balanced and have threats throughout the team and we will need to be on top of our game."

Form: Bath have suffered just one defeat in the Premiership since Round Five: 25-43 at Northampton on 28th December. Bath have won their last eleven home games in the Premiership since Saracens won there on 22nd December 2012, a record for the West country club. London Wasps have slipped to three straight defeats in all competitions and have not won on the road in the Premiership since their trip to Newcastle over Christmas. Bath won 28-5 when the two clubs met at Adams Park in round eight and have not achieved a season's double over the Londoners since 2008/09.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Micky Young, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Gavin Henson, 23Semesa Rokoduguni.

London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Will Helu, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 James Short, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Davies, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Charlie Hayter.

Date: Saturday 22nd February
Venue: The Rec
Kick-off: 1400 (local and GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (Eng)
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Peter Huckle (both Eng)
TMO: Trevor Fisher (Eng)

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