Saracens v Bath Premiership Preview

Saracens have named their team to play Bath at Allianz Park on Sunday with England fullback Alex Goode making his first start of the Aviva Premiership season.

Fresh from their second successive bonus point win last weekend, Director of Rugby Mark McCall explains how Saracens will have to be at their best if they are to record their third win of the season.

“Bath have enjoyed a good start to the season with two wins from their opening two games against Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers. “

“During the summer they added to what was already a very strong squad and they have a very experienced coaching team, so we will have to be at our best”.

“We have also won both our opening games and last week against Gloucester, we were patient and we did the right things at the right times and it was a pleasing performance, but our aim is to continue to improve each week”.

Mako Vunipola and Schalk Brits make their first starts of the season, whilst George Kruis come into the team replacing Alastair Hargreaves who drops to the bench.

Scotland captain Kelly Brown and scrum-half Neil De Kock have been named on the bench, both returning from injury.

Saracens have made the perfect start to the new season, claiming two bonus point wins, whilst the only other side to have begun a season with three maximum point hauls was Harlequins in 2012/13.

Saracens have lost just one of their last 21 home fixtures, played at eight different venues, in all competitions: 13- 27 to Northampton in last season’s Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final at Allianz Park.

Bath Rugby won at Newcastle in round 1 and beat Leicester in round 2, but have not begun a Premiership campaign with three successive victories since 2003/04.

Saracens have beaten Bath on their last six fixtures, since the West Countrymen’s 16-14 victory at Vicarage Road in February 2010.

Bath have named Martin Roberts and Alafoti Fa’osiliva to make their first starts for the club.

Roberts links up with Tom Heathcote in an all-international half-back pairing, with the fly-half also making his first appearance of the season.

In the backs, Tom Biggs comes on to the left wing with Semesa Rokoduguni continuing on the right, and Anthony Watson is named at fullback.

Gavin Henson continues at inside centre, with Bath stalwart Matt Banahan, who is making his 100th Premiership appearance, shifting to partner him in the midfield.

Fa’osiliva starts on the blindside flank, with Guy Mercer and Leroy Houston on the openside and at number 8 respectively.

Dominic Day is chosen to partner captain Stuart Hooper in the engine room, whilst Anthony Perenise switches sides to pack down on the loosehead with Rob Webber and David Wilson completing the front row.

Match : Saracens v Bath Rugby
Date : Sunday 22nd September
Venue : Allianz Park,
Kick Off : 2pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
: J P Doyle (65th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick and Stuart Terheege
TMO: David Sainsbury.



15. Goode; 14. Ashton, 13. Wyles, 12. Taylor, 11. Strettle; 10. Farrell, 9. Wigglesworth; 1. M. Vunipola, 2. Brits., 3. Stevens, 4. Borthwick (c), 5. Kruis, 6. B. Vunipola, 7. Burger, 8. Joubert

Replacements: 16. George, 17. Gill, 18. Johnston, 19. Hargreaves, 20. Brown, 21. De Kock, 22. Mordt, 23. Ransom


15. Anthony Watson, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Matt Banahan, 12. Gavin Henson, 11. Tom Biggs, 10. Tom Heathcote, 9. Martin Roberts, 1. Anthony Perenise, 2. Rob Webber, 3. David Wilson, 4. Stuart Hooper ( c ), 5. Dominic Day, 6. Alafoti Fa’osiliva, 7. Guy Mercer, 8. Leroy Houston

Replacements :16. Tom Dunn, 17. Paul James, 18. Kane Palma-Newport, 19. Dave At

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