Planet Rugby

Preview: Bath v Glasgow

19th January 2012 12:02


rob harley glasgow v bath HC 2011

Rob Harley: Starting at flank

Fresh from recording a best-ever unbeaten run in the PRO12, Glasgow have the opportunity to break further new ground when they face Bath.

The Round 6 fixture presents Sean Lineen's men with the chance to record a first away win on English soil in the competition, a feat that would keep alive their hopes of claiming an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final spot.

Glasgow lost narrowly on both their previous Heineken Cup visits to the Rec, 35-31 in season 2008/9 and 31-26 in 2005/6. They did, however, win the first of this season's meetings between the teams, 26-21 at Firhill last November.

"We know our chance of making the Heineken quarter-finals has gone, but make no mistake, this is another huge game for us this weekend," head coach Lineen told

"There is a massive amount at stake in any number of senses. First and foremost, we need to win to give ourselves a chance in terms of the Amlin quarter-finals, while beating a Premiership team on their own patch would be a significant achievement in itself.

"Bath are a tremendous, proud club with great traditions. They set the standard for clubs like ourselves in terms of where we aspire to get to. They'll be hungry to finish their Heineken campaign with a strong performance, so we know just how tough it will be to achieve the right result.

"We were very frustrated not to beat the reigning European champions [Leinster] last week, and I'm delighted the players aren't satisfied by having run a quality side like that so close. We want to be winning these big games, and it's important we set down a marker this weekend for the battles that are coming our way in the RaboDirect PRO12."

Lineen has kept faith with the side that went down 23-16 to the Dubliners last Sunday, the only changes to his 23 coming on the bench, with Ryan Wilson, Peter Murchie and Henry Pyrgos in for Johnnie Beattie (elbow), Troy Nathan (back) and Colin Gregor respectively.

Gregor, a contracted Scotland 7s player, has returned to the 7s squad to continue preparations for the forthcoming Wellington and Las Vegas legs.

"With the intensity and physicality of modern professional rugby, especially the Heineken Cup, it's quite unusual to send out exactly the same XV two weeks in a row, but this group made clear what they can do last weekend and they deserve the opportunity to help us go that one step further on Saturday," he said.

"As our record in England shows, it takes something really special to win on a Premiership ground: the challenge is to do something we've never done before, and we need everyone to rise to that."

Meanwhile, Bath have made eight changes to the starting line-up that faced Montpellier last weekend.

Jack Cuthbert comes in at full-back, and Matt Carraro returns to the wing, with Tom Biggs lining up on the opposite side. Olly Barkley and Matt Banahan combine in the centres once again.

Stephen Donald and Chris Cook form a new half-back partnership, starting a game together for the first time.

Pieter Dixon comes back into the starting line-up, scrumming down with Charlie Beech and David Wilson either side of him. Dave Attwood and Ryan Caldwell continue in the engine room, with Andy Beattie, Guy Mercer and Ben Skirving forming a new backrow.

There is also a welcome return to the match-day squad for Lee Mears, who is named on the bench.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Bath: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Olly Barkley, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Andrew Beattie, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 David Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 Charlie Beech.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 David Flatman, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Simon Taylor, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Sam Vesty.

Glasgow: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Stuart Hogg, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Colin Shaw, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 John Barclay, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (capt), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Jon Welsh.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Henry Pyrgos, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Peter Murchie, 23 Scott Wight.

Date: Saturday, January 21
Kick-off: 13:30
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)
Assistant referees: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France), David Rosich (France)

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