Preview: Bath v London Irish

27th Sep 2013, 12:23

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Familiar foes: Jonathan Joseph

Familiar foes: Jonathan Joseph

Dave Attwood will captain Bath as they take on Aviva Premiership rivals London Irish at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.


Dave Attwood will captain Bath as they take on Aviva Premiership rivals London Irish at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Attwood returns to the starting line-up and partners Dominic Day in the second row. Elsewhere in the pack, Paul James comes back to scrum down with Rob Webber and David Wilson, completing an all international front row.

Matt Garvey is named on the blindside flank with Guy Mercer and Leroy Houston at openside and number eight respectively.

Peter Stringer and George Ford renew their half-back partnership, with Matt Banahan resuming his role on the wing opposite Semesa Rokoduguni, giving pace and power out wide.

Kyle Eastmond returns to the side and partners Jonathan Joseph in an exciting midfield pairing, with the electric Anthony Watson continuing at full-back.

Meanwhile, London Irish have made three personnel and one positional change for their trip to The Rec.

Leo Halavatau comes in to the front row to replace Halani Aulika who ruptured his Achilles tendon last weekend. Halavatau will start alongside David Paice and Matt Parr.

Kieran Low has recovered from injury to take his place in the back row where he will partner Declan Danaher and Ofisa Treviranus. Alex Lewington moves to the wing and Topsy Ojo starts at full-back.

"We have made a couple of changes for this week," said Irish boss Brian Smith.

"We know it will be a physical test over there and will need to meet that head on. It is a challenge the squad are really looking forward to."

Form: Bath lost their perfect start to the season, going down 17-31 at Saracens on Sunday. Bath's only defeat at The Rec in any competition in 2013 was to Stade Français in the quarter finals of last season's European Challenge Cup. London Irish's only victory in their last four fixtures was 20-18 at Worcester in Round 2. The Exiles have not won successive away games in Aviva Premiership Rugby since beating Newcastle and Exeter on their own turf in October 2010. Bath have lost only one of their last seven clashes with the Exiles: 22-29 at Madesjki Stadium last September, whilst Irish have not been victorious at The Rec since November 2009.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood (c), 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Tom Biggs.

London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Ian Humphreys; 9 Tomás O'Leary (c), 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Declan Danaher, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Jebb Sinclair, 4 Nic Rouse, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 David Paice, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 John Yapp, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Ian Gough, 20 Bryn Evans, 21 Blair Cowan, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.

Date: Saturday, September 28
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Peter Huckle
Television match official: Keith Lewis
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant
Assessor: Jerry Wallis