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Preview: Bath v London Irish

15th February 2013 11:31

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Paul James Wales RWC training 2011

Back in: Paul James

Paul James and David Wilson return to the Bath front-row on Saturday to face London Irish in their game at the Rec.

James and Wilson, who have been released from Wales and England respectively due to a fallow week in the Six Nations championship, join Rob Webber at the front of the scrum.

Dominic Day and Dave Attwood continue their powerful partnership in the second row, with Francois Louw leading the charge from the blindside flank. Carl Fearns and Ben Skirving complete the scrum on the openside and at 8.

Experienced international half-backs Peter Stringer and Stephen Donald continue their instrumental pairing, with Tom Biggs and Horacio Agulla once more named in the wings. Kyle Eastmond and Matt Banahan start inside them, with Nick Abendanon picked at fullback.

Players currently unavailable for selection due to injury include Ryan Caldwell, Stuart Hooper, Danny Hipkiss, Mark McMillan, Simon Taylor, and Josh Ovens.

Meanwhile, London Irish have named the same side that defeated Saracens at Madejski Stadium last weekend for this fixture.

Jon Fisher is named as a replacement after recovering from a forearm injury.

"We enjoyed a good win last weekend but tomorrow is another match. It'll be a good arm-wrestle and we'll have to meet the challenge head on," said Irish boss Brian Smith.

Form: Bath have won their last five matches in all competitions, whilst their only defeat at The Rec since September was 0-22 to Saracens in Aviva Premiership Rugby on 22 December. Bath have not conceded more than one try in a home game since 10 November. London Irish have lost only one of their last six matches: 6-10 at Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 1 February. The Exiles' 18-12 victory at Gloucester in their most recent away fixture in Aviva Premiership Rugby ended a six game away losing run in the tournament. London Irish beat Bath 29-22 at Madejski Stadium in round four to end a five game losing streak against the West countrymen. Irish have won just once at The Rec since 2006: 16-0 in the Premiership on 28 November 2009.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (capt), 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jamie Gibson, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Jon Fisher, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jack Moates.

Date: Saturday, February 16
Kick-off: 14:15
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce Andrew Watson
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant
Assessor: Gary Welsh

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