Sale Sharks v Bath Premiership Preview

Bath Rugby have named their team to play in the Aviva Premiership season opener against Sale Sharks with Luke Arscott being named to make his ull Aviva Premiership debut for the rugby club.

Two other new signings, Nick Auterac and Henry Thomas, could also make their debut if called upon from the bench.

Arscott starts at fullback, with a familiar look in the rest of the backs. The pacey pair of Semesa Rokoduguni and Anthony Watson are on the wings, with Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph renewing their midfield partnership. Fly-half George Ford is joined by Peter Stringer in orchestrating proceedings.

Up front, the all-international front row of Paul James, Rob Webber and David Wilson combine at the coal face, as Stuart Hooper starts alongside Dominic Day in the engine room. A powerful back row, comprised of Alafoti Fa’osiliva, Guy Mercer and Leroy Houston, completes the line-up.

Sale Sharks’ only victory in their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was 55-12 at Exeter in round 20.

The Sharks have ben defeated in their last three encounters in all competition s at AJ Bell Stadium, whilst the only time that Sale have begun a Premiership campaign with a home defeat was in 1997 when Saracens visited Heywood Road.

Bath Rugby were defeated in their most recent away Premiership match, at Harlequins in round 22 – their only away loss in any tournament in 2014.

Bath have been victorious in round 1 in six of the last seven seasons.

Bath’s solo win in their last six Premiership encounters with Sale came at The Rec in September 2012, but Bath did win on their most recent visit to AJ Bell Stadium: 27-20 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November 2013.

Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has named Nathan Hines, Chris Cusiter and Luke McLean will all make their full debuts.

Alberto di Marchi named on the bench is expected to take part in the game too alongside Magnus Lund who will, if he comes on play his first game for competitive game for Sale Sharks since 2008.

The game will also mark Danny Cipriani’s 100th Premiership game.

Match : Sale Sharks v Bath Rugby
Date : Saturday 6th September
Venue : AJ Bell Stadium,
Kick Off : 2pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee:
JP Doyle (81st Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton and Gordon Goodliffe.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

Sale Sharks

Luke McLean, Tom Brady, Will Addison, Mark Jennings, Mark Cueto, Danny Cipriani, Chris Cusiter, Eifion Lewis Roberts, Marc Jones, Vadim Cobilas, Nathan Hines, Michael Paterson, Dan Braid (Captain), David Seymour, Mark Easter

Replacements: Cameron Neild, Ross Harrison, Alberto di Marchi, Jonathan Mills, Magnus Lund, Will Cliff, Joe Ford, Tom Arscott

Bath

15. Luke Arscott,14. Semesa Rokoduguni ,13. Jonathan Joseph,12. Kyle Eastmond,11. Anthony Watson,10. George Ford,9. Peter Stringer,1. Paul James,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. Nick Auterac,18. Henry Thomas,19. Dave Attwood,20. Carl Fearns,21. Chris Cook,22. Gavin Henson,23. Matt Banahan

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