Northampton Saints v Bath Premiership Preview

Bath have named England hook Rob Webber as captain of their team to face Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.


Webber, who spent the first half of the season injured, has quickly established himself in the Bath team with performances full of aggression in the loose and accuracy in the tight.


He will be joined in the front row by Charlie Beech and Anthony Perenise, while the powerful lock partnership of Dominic Day and Dave Attwood is set to continue as Stuart Hooper nurses a sore neck and Ryan Caldwell recovers from a hip operation.


With Francois Louw also out of action, Mat Gilbert slots into the back row with Carl Fearns and Ben Skirving.


Tom Heathcote, who has spent the week training with Scotland, comes into the fly-half berth in place of the injured Stephen Donald and partners the experienced Peter Stringer in the half-backs.


The rest of the back-line is unchanged from that which beat London Irish at the Rec last weekend. Nick Abendanon provides security and excitement at fullback, with Horacio Agulla and Tom Biggs outside him on the wings.


Kyle Eastmond and Matt Banahan continue developing their centre partnership, with the former league man again selected in the inside centre channel.


In terms of form Northampton Saints have won just two of their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, against Exeter and Worcester.


Saints’ only win in their last four Premiership contests at Franklin’s Gardens was 23-16 over London Welsh on 24 November. Bath Rugby have won their last six matches in all competitions since their 15-29 reversal at London Wasps on 6 January.


Bath have won just one away game in the Premiership since 25 February 2012: 24-23 at Worcester on 1 September.


Bath have not beaten the Saints at Franklin’s Gardens since 22 April 2000, however Bath did win a Premiership game at the famous old venue in November 2004, beating Saracens there 37-30.


Mike Haywood says that the Saints players are looking to build on last week’s away win over Worcester.


Saints came home from Sixways with the points last Saturday afternoon, but Haywood – who has played in 22 of the Saints’ 25 matches played so far this season – says that while there was satisfaction with the win over Worcester a step up in performance is needed tomorrow.


“We’re looking forward to this weekend and taking on Bath,” the hooker said this week.


“We were looking for a performance at Worcester last week and we knew that it was a must-win game for us. It was a tough place to play and we were happy with how we played.


“But we know that Bath is going to be a really big challenge for us. We want to get a win on our home pitch and keep the momentum going, and hopefully we can take the good things from last week into tomorrow’s game.”


Match : Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby
Date : Saturday 23rd February
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee
: Luke Pearce (11th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe and Ashley Rowden.


Teams


Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson,8 GJ van Velze, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Phil Dowson (c), 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Soane Tomga’uiha.


Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 James Craig, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Dom Waldouck


Bath


15. Nick Abendanon , 14. Horacio Agulla , 13. Matt Banahan , 12. Kyle Eastmond , 11. Tom Biggs , 10. Tom Heathcote , 9. Peter Stringer, 8. Ben Skirving, 7. Mat Gilbert , 6. Carl Fearns , 5. Dave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close