Louis Rees-Zammit starts for Gloucester against Bath

Date published: February 18 2021

The Premiership’s Round 11 action gets underway on Friday when Bath host bottom-placed Gloucester at the Recreation Ground.

Bath’s Josh Bayliss moves to the second-row for Josh McNally, who is unavailable for selection, and Taulupe Faletau returns to the club from international duty with Wales to start at blindside.

The front-row remains unchanged from last Friday’s dominant display against Sale Sharks, with prop Tom Dunn – who made a massive 34 tackles – looking to put in another impressive performance.

Mike Williams, Miles Reid, and Zach Mercer resume their positions in the second-row, openside and number eight respectively to complete the pack.

Will Muir returns on the left wing, with Semesa Rokodoguni and Tom de Glanville keeping their positions to make up the back three.

Josh Matavesi and Max Clark pair up again in the centre, while Ben Spencer and Rhys Priestland will marshall the game from their customary spots.

Tom Ellis and Jonathan Joseph return to the squad on the bench alongside Jack Walker, Jamie Bhatti, Henry Thomas, Ethan Staddon, Will Chudley and Tian Schoeman.

For Gloucester, Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris and Stephen Varney have all returned from international duty with Ed Slater also returning to Cherry and White action, starting at lock alongside Alex Craig.

Rees-Zammit is joined by Ollie Thorley and Jason Woodward in the back three with Willi Heinz and Billy Twelvetrees continuing their partnership at half-back. Tom Seabrook starts alongside Harris in the midfield.

In the forwards, Val Rapava Ruskin, Henry Walker and Fraser Balmain make up the front-row with the aforementioned partnership of Ed Slater and Alex Craig behind them at second row. Jordy Reid, Ruan Ackermann and Lewis Ludlow, who resumes the captaincy, make up the back-row.

The Cherry and Whites have a mix of experience and youth on the bench with George Barton set to make his first appearance since the Exeter Chiefs fixture on Boxing Day.

Stephen Varney will look to bring the tempo he has shown in the Italy shirt this Six Nations off the bench with Henry Trinder also among the replacements.

Santiago Socino is set to make his second Gloucester Rugby appearance with Alex Seville, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Ollie Atkins and Freddie Clarke all amongst the replacements.

11 of the 23 selected for this historic fixture have come through the Gloucester Academy.

Form: Bath’s 27-22 victory at Sale last weekend was their first win in 2021. Bath’s most recent victory in a match played at the Recreation Ground was against today’s opponents, Gloucester, in Round 21 of Premiership Rugby last season. Gloucester have won just once in Premiership Rugby since September: 40-24 at home to Wasps in Round Two this campaign, however in their last three defeats they have achieved losing bonus points and one try bonus. Each club won its respective home game when the two sides met in Premiership Rugby last season whilst Gloucester’s most recent victory at the Rec was in October 2017.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Max Clark, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Will Muir, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer (c), 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Taulupe Faletau, 5 Mike Williams, 4 Josh Bayliss, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Ethan Staddon, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Tom Seabrook, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Alex Craig, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Henry Walker, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 George Barton, 23 Henry Trinder

Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Paul Dix
TMO: David Rose