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Preview: Harlequins v Bath

23rd March 2012 09:42

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Mike Brown Harlequins

Mike Brown: Back from international duty for Harlequins

Harlequins have the majority of their squad available for selection for this weekend's Aviva Premiership clash with Bath at the Stoop.

On his return from international duty, Mike Brown starts at full-back alongside Ugo Monye and Tom Williams. Jordan Turner-Hall and George Lowe continue in tandem in the centres, while Nick Evans and Danny Care start at half back.

Joe Marler also returns from international duty alongside Joe Gray and James Johnston in the front row.

Ollie Kohn partners the returning George Robson who will also captain the side.

Tom Guest, Luke Wallace and Nick Easter make up the back row. Chris Robshaw will be ready to return against Saracens at Wembley next week having been given the week off to recover post 6 Nations.

The bench sees Rob Buchanan, Mark Lambert and Will Collier covering the specialist front row positions.

Tomas Vallejos and the returning Mo Fa'asavalu will look to impact in the back five. Karl Dickson and Rory Clegg cover at half back with Ross Chisholm covering the remainder of the back-line.

Amongst those players unavailable are Tim Fairbrother (calf), Chris Brooker (knee), Charlie Matthews (ankle), Charlie Walker (Hong Kong Sevens) and Sam Twomey (shoulder).head.

Meanwhile, Nick Abendanon, Olly Woodburn, Nathan Catt, Pieter Dixon, David Wilson and Simon Taylor all return to the starting line-up for Bath.

There are also returns for Ross Batty, Kane Palma-Newport, Mark McMillan and Dan Hipkiss, who are all named on the bench in a matchday squad containing 10 changes from the LV= Cup Semi Final defeat to Leicester Tigers two weeks ago.

Abendanon comes back in at full-back, with Woodburn joining Tom Biggs on the wings. Matt Carraro and Olly Barkley combine in the centres, with Tom Heathcote and Michael Claassens continuing their half back pairing.

Up front, Catt, Dixon and Wilson form a new front row, with Dave Attwood and Ryan Caldwell joining forces in the engine room. Taylor completes the pack alongside Carl Fearns and Francois Louw in the back row.

Form: Harlequins have topped the Aviva Premiership Rugby table since round three but have stuttered of late to record just three wins in their last seven encounters. Quins have not lost a Premiership game at the Twickenham Stoop since Saracens were the visitors in round 22 last season. Bath have won three of their last four Premiership matches, and have won their last two away games in all competitions (both at Exeter in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and the Premiership). Quins beat Bath 26-13 at the Rec in round eight, but have not achieved a season's double over them since 2008/09. Bath have not won at the Stoop since their 24-18 triumph in the European Challenge Cup on 9 December 2006.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson (c), 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Dan Hipkiss, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Date: Saturday, March 24
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 14.15
Referee: Wayne Barnes

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