Planet Rugby

Preview: Bath vs Exeter

25th January 2013 09:20

Share:

Rob Webber lineout practice

Starting: Rob Webber

Rob Webber makes his debut for Bath as they welcome Exeter Chiefs to the Recreation Ground on Saturday for the third pool match of the LV= Cup.

Webber, who joined the club in pre-season, will link up with Charlie Beech and Anthony Perenise in the front-row. Stuart Hooper captains the side, with Dave Attwood joining him in the second-row.

Speaking earlier this week, Webber explained how much he's looking forward to his first run out.

"I arrived here thinking my shoulder was all recovered, and was in the full swing of pre-season, then a week or two before the pre-season games it reared its ugly head again and a couple of scans revealed it hadn't healed properly," he said.

"I had to have the operation done again, which meant I missed the season up until now. It's been a long slog, lots of individual weights and rehab and work with the conditioning guys, who, along with the medics, have been great. It was a bit of a lonely existence really so it's fantastic to have been back involved with the lads the last few weeks.

"I'm chuffed to bits to be getting my first start. Bit nervous after such a long time out, but I just need to get amongst it, do the basics well and build game by game to get back to the standards I expect of myself."

There's also an exciting debutant in the back-row, with Mat Gilbert coming onto the openside flank for his first appearance for the club. Ben Skirving also returns at number eight, with Nick Koster shifting to the blindside.

Fly-half Tom Heathcote returns from training with Scotland to partner Mark McMillan in the half-backs, with young flyers Olly Woodburn and Richard Lane on the wings. The bulldozing duo of Ben Williams and Matt Banahan combine in the centres, with Bucharest hat-trick hero Jack Cuthbert starting at fullback once more.

On the bench, Ireland's most capped scrum-half Peter Stringer is in line to make his debut in a Bath jersey, with both Ross Batty and Semesa Rokoduguni returning to the squad.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have looked to utilise their squad to the full for this weekend's fixture. And that means a complete new-look starting XV from that which faced Leinster a week ago.

Skippering the side and set to make his first-ever competitive start for the Chiefs is summer signing Kai Horstmann (pictured), who has now fully recovered from a hamstring injury. Whilst also set to make his debut for the club is Fijian flyer Watisoni Votu, who after a protracted visa process, is finally ready to unleash his attacking talents.

England Under-20s starlets Jack Nowell, Sam Hill, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie all start, whilst there is plenty of experience around the park in the shape of Nic Sestaret, Craig Mitchell, Damian Welch and Ben White.

Form: Bath's only defeat at The Rec in any competition since September was 0-22 to Saracens in the Premiership on 22 December. Bath have lost two of their last three games in the LV= Cup, but have not lost at home in a pool game in this tournament since Leicester visited The Rec on 4 October 2008. Exeter Chiefs are one of just two teams who have won both their opening encounters in this season's LV= Cup (the other is fellow Pool 1 rivals Harlequins). The Chiefs are without a win in their last five fixtures in all competitions, but have won their last two away games in the LV= Cup: at London Wasps and London Welsh. Exeter have not beaten Bath in any competition since a 1st round tie in the John Player Cup in season 1977/78, whilst Bath won 31-3 at Sandy Park when the two clubs met in round four of the LV= Cup last season.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Richard Lane, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Mat Gilbert, 6 Nick Koster, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (capt), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Charlie Beech.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

Exeter: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Watisoni Votu, 13 Nic Sestaret, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Josh Tatupu, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Kai Horstmann (capt), 7 Ben White, 6 Joel Conlon, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Will Carrick-Smith, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Chris Budgen, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Justin Blanchet, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Junior Poluleuligaga, 22 Myles Dorrian, 23 Mark Foster.

Date: Saturday, January 26
Kick-off: 14:15
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Nigel Owens Wales)
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart (England), Darryl Chapman (England)
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Melbourne Rebels vs Western ForceMelbourne Rebels vs Western Force Preview
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Preview
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954