Planet Rugby

Preview: Bath v Exeter

07th March 2014 12:18

Share:

Guy Mercer for Bath

Comeback: Guy Mercer

Guy Mercer will make his first start for Bath since October on Sunday as they welcome Exeter in the LV= Cup semi-final.

Mercer is joined in the back-row by the returning Matt Garvey on the blindside and Leroy Houston at number eight.

Ryan Caldwell joins captain Stuart Hooper in the engine room, with Eusebio Guinazu flanked at hooker by Nathan Catt and Argentina teammate Juan Pablo Orlandi.

In the half-backs, Martin Roberts and Tom Heathcote resume their partnership, with Horacio Agulla and Semesa Rokoduguni named out wide on the wings.

Ollie Devoto, nominated for this year's LV= Breakthrough Player award, combines with Gavin Henson in the midfield, whilst Nick Abendanon completes the line-up from full-back.

Meanwhile, Exeter boss Rob Baxter insists getting the "nuts and bolts right" will be the key to seeing off Bath in the LV= Cup semi-final.

Unlike previous rounds where Baxter again used the LV= Cup to utilise his playing squad to the full, this weekend it will be a near full-strength Chiefs line-up that takes to the field at The Rec.

Although missing Jack Nowell and Tom Johnson to England duty, the remainder of the Exeter team looks impressive.

Johnson's absence means Dave Ewers is shunted from number eight to blindside; Kai Horstmann anchors the scrum; whilst there is a first start since January for Chris Whitehead, who takes over at hooker from Luke Cowan-Dickie.

The back division remains untouched from last time out, but on the bench there are recalls for James Hanks and former Bath favourite James Scaysbrook.

"We'll be going full-on, for obvious reasons - it's the first time we've been in the semi-finals, the final's at Sandy Park and we want to keep some momentum from the win against London Irish," said Baxter.

"We've performed well at Bath in the last couple of years - we've scored tries and scored plenty of points, the key for us again is making sure we get our game-management right and defensively we're very sound. That will make us a difficult team to beat because we do score points."

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Mat Gilbert, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Ben Williams, 23 Matt Banahan

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 James Hanks, 20 James Scaysbrook, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo

Date: Sunday, March 9
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kickoff: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs MunsterCardiff Blues vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Ospreys 26 - 11 ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Report
Glasgow 17 - 9 Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Report
Leinster 33 - 8 EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615