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Preview: Bath v Northampton

27th January 2012 07:18

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SKY_MOBILE Stuart Hooper Bath Rugby

Stuart Hooper: Bath leader returns

Bath captain Stuart Hooper returns to the team's line-up for Saturday's LV= Cup game against Northampton Saints at the Recreation Ground.

Hooper comes back to partner Ryan Caldwell in the second row, with Ben Skirving, Francois Louw and Simon Taylor combining in the back row. Ross Batty starts at hooker, with David Flatman and Anthony Perenise packing down either side of him in the front row.

Michael Claassens partners Stephen Donald in the half-backs once more, with Tom Biggs and Olly Woodburn taking their places on the wings. Olly Barkley and Sam Vesty form a new centre pairing, and Nick Abendanon completes the line-up at full-back.

Both sides sit at the top of their pools going into the game, with maximum points being taken in their respective first two fixtures, and will be determined to get one step closer to securing a semi-final place.

"We're looking forward to what we know will be a tough challenge for us, against a strong Northampton Saints squad," said Bath director of rugby, Sir Ian McGeechan.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Sam Vesty, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Ben Skirving, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty, 1 David Flatman
Replacements: 16. Lee Mears, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Nick Scott.

Northampton: 15 Paul Diggin, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Scott Armstrong, 12 Greig Tonks, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 James Craig, 5 Christian Day, 4 Mark Sorensen, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 James Ingle, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Tom May, 23 Noah Cato.

Date: Saturday, January 28
Kick-off: 14:30
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Sean Davey (England)

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