Preview: Bath v Harlequins

Date published: November 27 2014

Sam Burgess has been named on Bath’s replacements bench for Friday’s clash with Harlequins at the Recreation Ground.

Former rugby league star Sam Burgess has been named on Bath’s replacements bench for Friday’s clash with Harlequins at the Recreation Ground.

Burgess is amongs the backline replacements and will wear the number 22 jersey while Ollie Devoto and Peter Stringer are set to make their 50th appearances in the match.

21-year-old Devoto starts at fly-half, whilst scrum-half Stringer will hope to reach the milestone from the replacements’ bench.

Devoto, who was an Academy player last season, made his senior debut in 2012 in answer to an injury crisis amongst the Bath backs. He has since thrived at fly-half, in the centres and at full-back.

Chris Cook, a try-scorer in last week’s victory against London Irish, starts at nine.

On the wings are Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni, with Gavin Henson appearing at fullback at the Rec for the first time since Bath defeated Saracens in October.

Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph will set pulses racing in the midfield as they seek to add to their collective tally of nine tries this season.

In the front row, Nick Auterac takes his place at loosehead, with Ross Batty and Henry Thomas at hooker and tighthead respectively. Captain Stuart Hooper and Dominic Day continue at second row.

Blindside Matt Garvey starts his second game this season, featuring in the back row alongside two big carriers in openside David Sisi and number eight Leroy Houston.

Fresh from their international campaigns with Argentina and Wales, Horacio Agulla and Paul James are included on the bench.

Meanwhile, Harlequins have made three changes to their run-on side that lost to Sale Sharks last weekend.

In the backs, Danny Care and Aseli Tikoirotuma return from international duty with England and Fiji to start at scrum-half and wing respectively.

The one change to the forward pack sees Jack Clifford, who is named at blindside flanker, making his first Premiership start.

Form: Bath Rugby have won three of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters whilst at The Rec they have lost just one of their last nine matches in all tournaments: 19-21 to Toulouse in the European Champions Cup on 25th October. Harlequins last ten Aviva Premiership Rugby matches have all finished WLWLWLWLWL, whilst they have not lost back-to-back games in the tournament since October 2013. Harlequins have won two of their last three away matches, at Wasps in the European Champions Cup and at Gloucester in Premiership Rugby. The last five fixtures between the two clubs in Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day. Harlequins’ solitary victory at Bath since 2009 came in November 2011.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Gavin Henson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Ollie Devoto, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 David Sisi, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Paul James, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Sam Burgess, 23 Horacio Agulla.

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter (c), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Jordan Turner-Hall.

Date: Friday, November 28
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Paul Dix
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: Bob Ockenden
Assessor: Tony Spreadbury