Bath vs Newcastle Anglo Welsh LV Cup preview

Andy Beattie has been handed the captains armband once again as Bath Rugby welcome Newcastle Falcons to the Recreation Ground tomorrow in the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup.


Beattie is joined in the back row by Josh Ovens, who scored twice on Monday night, and Ben Skirving. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and John van der Giessen provide an experienced second row, with David Flatman, Pieter Dixon and Aaron Jarvis scrumming down in the front row.


Mark McMillan and Sam Vesty partner up at halfback, with Jacques Boussuge and Tom Biggs adding pace and strength on the wings. Nick Abendanon returns from England EPS training to line up at full-back, and Ben Williams and Olly Barkley join up in the centres.


Whilst disappointed to be out of European competition following last weekend’s defeat in Biarritz, Brad Davis, defence and skills coach, feels that there is still progress being made by the West Country side, but that Newcastle are not a side to be underestimated.


“We have had a good start to 2011, having won three out of our four matches and only losing that one match by less than seven points, so we are definitely moving in the right direction. We have an opportunity this weekend to heal a few of the wounds we have from last week against Biarritz, and get the winning momentum back in the side.


“With some of the guys away on international duty, the next few weeks will give us, as coaches, the chance to see some of the younger guys in action and see if they can stake their claim in the starting shirt. We have a good crop of players coming through so these next few weeks will be a test for them to see if they can handle the increased level of playing standard and physicality from the United games.


“You can’t underestimate any side these days, especially not Newcastle. They have had some hard fixtures, most of which have been on a Friday night and played in pretty atrocious weather.


“They have a very good half back pairing, and a quick back three, which we will need to watch out for. They work hard for each other as a team, so we are not underestimating the threat they pose this weekend.”


Giant Kiwi lock Andrew Van der Heijden has been named on the bench for Newcastle Falcons.


The 26-year-old has completed his rehabilitation from a broken arm sustained shortly after signing a two-year deal at Kingston Park.


And Van der Heijden is delighted to be able to pull on the Falcons jersey for the first time since his move from down under.


“It’s been a long time and I’ve been raring to go for two months now. Hopefully I can make a big impact when I get on and make sure the basics are right,” he said.


Head coach Alan Tait has named a strong squad for the trip to the West Country which includes Scotland international Euan Murray in the front row.


Ally Hogg and Tim Swinson are welcomed back to the pack, and there is also a place in the back row for Cumbrian Mark Wilson. The Falcons will also be boosted by the return of hooker Rob Vickers who is named on the bench.


The Bookies have given Newcastle Falcons a 7 point start by predicting a 7 point Bath victory.


Match : Bath Rugby vs Newcastle Falcons
Date: Saturday 29 January 2011
Venue :The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 2.15pm


Teams


Bath : Nick Abendanon,14. Jacques Boussuge,13. Olly Barkley,12. Ben Williams,11. Tom Biggs,10. Sam Vesty,9. Mark McMillan,1. David Flatman,2. Pieter Dixon,3. Aaron Jarvis,4. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe,5. John van der Giessen,6. Andy Beattie (c),7. Josh Ovens,8. Ben Skirving


Replacements:16. Ted Stagg,17. David Barnes,18. Kane Palma Newport,19. Danny Grewcock,20. Luke Watson,21. Michael Claassens,22. Paul Roberts,23. Nick Scott


Newcastle Falcons:

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