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Preview: Gloucester v Bath

05th October 2012 11:29

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Ben Morgan London Irish v Gloucester Aviva Premiership 2012

Number eight: Ben Morgan

Gloucester have recalled trio Henry Trinder, Huia Edmonds and Ben Morgan for their Aviva Premiership derby clash with Bath at Kingsholm.

England international Morgan's return sees Sione Kalamafoni move across from number eight to blindside flank for the game against their rivals.

And, featuring in a Gloucester squad for the first time, is All Black scrum-half Jimmy Cowan who is named amongst the replacements.

Boss Nigel Davies admitted that he feels that there are certain similarities between the teams but that Gloucester are ready for the encounter.

"I think we're very similar to Bath at the moment. We're both teams in transition with new coaching groups, new philosophies and new look teams," he said.

"We're both working hard to put those systems and philosophies in place, so it'll be interesting to see which side comes out on top on Saturday.

"It's important to keep the momentum going. We're at home and we desperately want to win and put in a big performance.

"This group of players are playing with lots of confidence at the moment, with lots of belief. We're ready for this fixture, it's a huge fixture."

Meanwhile, Sam Vesty will come into the starting line-up at inside centre for Bath as the West Country outfit look to clinch a vital win in the league.

This will be Vesty's first start of the season, and he will partner Dan Hipkiss in the midfield, with Michael Claassens and Stephen Donald forming the half-backs.

Having played at inside centre last Saturday in the win over Sale Sharks, Donald slots back into his preferred role of fly-half, replacing Olly Barkley, who last week played his final game for Bath before taking up a contract at Racing Metro 92.

The back-three doesn't change, with Kyle Eastmond and Tom Biggs out wide and Nick Abendanon at full-back.

Up front, Paul James is retained at loosehead, and will link up with Lee Mears - who is handed the captain's armband - and Davey Wilson to form an all-international front-row. In the absence of Club captain Stuart Hooper, who sadly injured his hamstring last Saturday, Dominic Day partners former Cherry and White Dave Attwood in the engine room.

"Kingsholm was once home to me and it is a special place. To be arriving there this weekend with my Bath teammates is a real honour. These are special days and there is a huge amount of history to remember as you run out. I can't wait for the game," said Attwood.

The back-row remains unchanged as Carl Fearns and Ben Skirving pack down on the flanks, with 66 times capped Scot Simon Taylor at number eight.

Form: Gloucester are unbeaten in their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches since their opening day defeat at home to table topping Northampton. Gloucester ended a four game losing streak at Kingshom with their 29-22 victory over Wasps in round four. Bath recorded a 31-10 win over Sale on Friday to end a run of two successive defeats. Bath's solo win in their last five away trips was 24-23 at Worcester on 1 September. Bath have been victorious just once in their last nine clashes with the Cherry & Whites: 24-8 at The Rec on 27 December 2009. Bath have not beaten Gloucester at Kingsholm since 25 February 2006.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Shane Monahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Jim Hamilton (capt), 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Sam Vesty, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Ben Skirving, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Davey Wilson, 2 Lee Mears (capt), 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Date: Saturday, October 6
Kick-off: 14:15 BST
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: David Pearson
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Andrew Pearce
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: Mike Hamlin
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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