Planet Rugby

Preview: Bath v Exeter

15th November 2013 11:04

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David Attwood Bath v Sale 2012

Returning: Dave Attwood

Juan Pablo Orlandi will make his first start for Bath at the Recreation Ground on Sunday as they face Exeter Chiefs in the LV= Cup.

Up against their West Country rivals, Bath are bolstered further by the release of England trio Dave Attwood, Anthony Watson and Rob Webber, who are all in the starting line-up.

Orlandi and Webber combine in the front row, alongside Nathan Catt at loosehead. Stuart Hooper returns to partner Dave Attwood in the engine room, as Matt Garvey and Carl Fearns start on the blindside and openside flanks respectively, with Leroy Houston completing the pack at number eight.

Martin Roberts and George Ford combine in the half-backs to control proceedings, with the powerful Matt Banahan and fleet-footed Anthony Watson on either wing. Ollie Devoto and Jonathan Joseph make up the midfield, and Nick Abendanon is at fullback.

Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs seek to build on their opening round success with a win at a ground they have not tasted victory on since 1978.

A 19-5 victory over holders Harlequins - courtesy of a Sireli Naqelevuki try and 14 points from the boot of Ceri Sweeney - gave the Chiefs the ideal start to their domestic cup campaign at Sandy Park a week ago.

Although victorious last time out, the Chiefs have tinkered with their winning line-up for Sunday's showdown, making a total of seven changes to their starting XV. Into the pack come Chris Whitehead and Carl Rimmer in the front-row, whilst James Phillips is handed his first start of the season at No.8.

Behind them, Haydn Thomas and Henry Slade form a new half-back partnership, whilst the experienced Jason Shoemark not only returns to the midfield, but also skippers the side with Welshman Sweeney dropping down to the bench.

The other change sees summer Tom James brought into the back three at the expense of Jack Arnott.

Form:

Bath Rugby have won their last five matches in all tournaments since Sale Sharks beat them 19-13 in Salford in the Premiership early last month. Bath's only loss in their last 13 matches at the Rec in all tournaments was 20-36 to Stade Franšais in the quarter final of last season's European Challenge Cup. Bath have been defeated just once at home in the LV=Cup since 2008: 16-17 to Leicester Tigers in the 2012 semi-final.

Exeter Chiefs have lost only one of their last six matches in all competitions: 16-20 away to Glasgow in the European Cup on 20th October. Exeter have won their last two encounters in the LV=Cup but have never won three in a row in the history of the competition.

The two clubs also met at The Rec in the pool stages of last season's LV=Cup with the home side running out 16-6 victors. Bath also won their only other Anglo-Welsh meeting with the Chiefs, 31-3 at Sandy Park in February 2012. The Chiefs have never been victorious in four previous visits to the Rec in all competitions.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Johnathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Rob Webber,1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Tom Biggs

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki 12 Jason Shoemark (c), 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 James Phillips, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Don Armand, 5 James Hanks, 4 Romana Graham, 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Kieran Davies, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Will Carrick-Smith, 20 Joel Conlon, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Ian Whitten

Date: Sunday, November 17
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Venue: The Rec
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart (England), Paul Dix (England)
Television match official: Keith Lewis (England)
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant (England)

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