There’s two matches on the schedule on Friday as Round Six of the Premiership season kicks off with Bath v Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons.
Bath v Bristol Bears
Beno Obano and Will Stuart retain their prop jerseys, with Tom Dunn completing the front-row selection.
Charlie Ewels remains consistent in the second-row, seeing Fergus Lee-Warner also named in an unchanged pairing.
Miles Reid and Sam Underhill remain on the flanks after an impressive performance against Gloucester last week.
Jaco Coetzee comes into the starting pack at number eight, with Alfie Barbeary moved to the bench.
Ben Spencer captains from scrum-half, partnered by Finn Russell at 10.
Scottish international Cameron Redpath comes back into the fold to join England international Ollie Lawrence in the centre. Lawrence scored two tries on his return to the Blue, Black and White jersey last week in Bath’s win over Gloucester.
Will Muir and Joe Cokanasiga remain on the wings, with Matt Gallagher coming in at full-back to complete the starting XV.
Thomas du Toit will use his versatility in the front-row to switch to replacement loosehead this week. Johannes Jonker and Niall Annett complete the front-row replacements.
After a spell on the sidelines, GJ van Velze has been named on the bench alongside Barbeary.
Van Graan names a five-three split for this fixture, seeing Louis Schreuder, Orlando Bailey and Max Ojomoh named as replacement backs.
Meanwhile, Ed Holmes will make his 100th appearance for Bristol in the West Country derby.
The newest Bears centurion returns in the second-row where he partners Joe Batley, while in the front-row, England international Ellis Genge makes his return at loosehead. Gabriel Oghre continues at hooker with Max Lahiff returning at tighthead against his former club.
James Dun is named in the back-row alongside Harry Thacker and Magnus Bradbury, with Fitz Harding ruled out through injury.
In the backline, Piers O’Conor comes into the starting XV on the wing in the absence of Noah Heward.
Bath: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben Spencer (c), 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Miles Reid, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Fergus Lee-Warner, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Alfie Barbeary, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Orlando Bailey, 23 Max Ojomoh
Bristol Bears: 15 Rich Lane, 14 Piers O’Conor, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall (c), 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Harry Thacker, 6 James Dun, 5 Joe Batley, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Gabriel Oghre, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 James Williams, 23 Max Malins
Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant Referees: Joe James, Greg Macdonald
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons
Elsewhere, England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie will make his home debut for the club after he was named on the replacements bench again alongside academy prop Asher Opoku-Fordjour, who appears in a Premiership matchday squad for the first time.
In a game showcasing the very best of northern rugby, boss Alex Sanderson has named 14 players who hail from the north of England in his matchday squad.
The director of rugby has made one change to his front-row for the visit of the Falcons, with academy graduate James Harper starting alongside Bevan Rodd and hooker Agustin Creevy.
Jonny Hill returns to resume his partnership with Cobus Wiese in the second-row, while Sanderson has picked an unchanged back-row featuring captain Curry, Ernst van Rhyn and Dan du Preez.
Gus Warr continues at scrum-half and he’ll have Rob du Preez for company with Ford given a week off following his World Cup exertions.
Sam James shifts from full-back to outside centre, where he teams up again with Sam Bedlow, while Carpenter returns in the 15 shirt either side of wingers Arron Reed and Tom Roebuck.
Cowan-Dickie, Ross Harrison and Opoku-Fordjour are picked as the front-row replacements while Ben Bamber and Sam Dugdale will cover the rest of the forwards.
Nye Thomas, Tom Curtis and Alex Wills are the backs replacements.
24 – @SaleSharksRugby’s Ernst van Rhyn is one of just two players to have completed 80+ tackles across the major European leagues this season (81) and has made twice as many dominant tackles as any other player across the Premiership, URC & TOP 14 this term (24). Brute. pic.twitter.com/YcWPs5n3HQ
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) November 15, 2023
Meanwhile, Louis Brown makes his Premiership debut for Newcastle Falcons on Friday night.
The Yorkshireman was a summer signing from Coventry and starts in a back three which includes Ben Redshaw, the 18-year-old who has made four appearances so far this season.
Scrum-half James Elliott makes his Falcons debut with the County Durham native having arrived from Jersey Reds, Zach Kerr partnering Cameron Hutchison in the centres.
Welshman Josh Thomas slots in at fly-half in a side showing 13 changes from the one which started at home to Saracens – the Falcons battling a five-day turnaround following Sunday’s home date against the champions.
Jamie Blamire (hamstring) and Adam Radwan (hip) are both absent through injury, with Mateo Carreras (hamstring) and Matias Moroni (shin) once again missing out. Fellow Argentina stars Eduardo Bello and Pedro Rubiolo, meanwhile, are handed some recuperation time following the Rugby World Cup and Rugby Championship schedules.
Newcastle native Phil Brantingham starts at loosehead prop in a front row which also sees the inclusion of Irishman Bryan Byrne and Scotland’s Murray McCallum, with former Wasps duo Tim Cardall and Kiran McDonald forming the second-row.
John Hawkins makes his first start at blindside flanker following his recent arrival from Jersey, joining a back-row with homegrown pair Guy Pepper and captain Callum Chick.
On the bench there could be Premiership debuts for John Kelly, Louie Johnson and Oliver Spencer, with hooker Charlie Maddison set to make his comeback from long-term injury.
Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Ben Curry (c), 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 James Harper, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Asher Opoku-Fordjour 19 Ben Bamber, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Nye Thomas, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Alex Wills
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Ben Redshaw, 14 Louis Brown, 13 Zach Kerr, 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Josh Thomas, 9 James Elliott, 8 Callum Chick (c), 7 Guy Pepper, 6 John Hawkins, 5 Kiran McDonald, 4 Tim Cardall, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Phil Brantingham
Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 John Kelly, 20 Josh Bainbridge, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Louie Johnson, 23 Oliver Spencer
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Adam Leal
Assistant Referees: Simon Harding, Peter Allan
TMO: David Rose