Bath Rugby v Worcester Warriors Premiership Preview

Bath host Worcester Warriors at the Recreation Ground

Worcester Director of Rugby Dean Ryan has made two changes to the Warriors side which pushed Leicester Tigers earlier this month as they prepare for a trip to Bath Rugby this Sunday in the Aviva Premiership.

Nick Schonert returns to the front row following a facial injury to partner Na’ama Leleimalefaga and Niall Annett while Fijian Tevita Cavubati replaces Donncha O’Callaghan in the second row alongside Darren Barry.

Phil Dowson will skipper the side in the absence of GJ van Velze with Matt Cox and Sam Betty at six and seven respectively.

An unchanged backline sees stand-off Tom Heathcote line-up next to scrum-half Jonny Arr and centres Ryan Mills and Wynand Olivier, while the back three comprises Chris Pennell, Bryce Heem and Cooper Vuna.

In the replacements, hooker Ben Sowrey could be set for his first Aviva Premiership appearance while Andy Symons could make his first league start of the campaign.

Ryan said: “Bath are not necessarily a side that are hitting the form they did last season but they have quality individuals all over the field.

“The group that played against Leicester played really well and were disappointed they didn’t get a result.

“So we’re really excited about going to Bath and we’ll have another shot at trying to take a big scalp.”

Bath Rugby’s only win in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures was 45-14 against London Irish in Reading on 7th November.

Bath have won just one of their last four home games at the Recreation Ground in all tournaments: 19-16 over Leinster on 21st November.

Worcester Warriors have lost their last five matches in all competitions since beating La Rochelle at Sixways in the Challenge Cup on 14th November.

The Warriors only victory on the road in Premiership Rugby since New Year’s Day 2012 came when they visited Newcastle in March 2014.

Bath have won their last five encounters with Worcester since the Warriors 16-7 victory at Sixways in Aviva Premiership Rugby in November 2011.

Worcester have lost on all ten occasions they have visited the Recreation Ground in all competitions.

In this weekend’s Bath backline, Tom Homer starts at fullback, with Semesa Rokoduguni and Horacio Agulla outside him on the wings.

Jonathan Joseph is joined by Ollie Devoto in the midfield, as Rhys Priestland partners Chris Cook in the half-backs.

Ross Batty retains the number two shirt, with Max Lahiff and Henry Thomas scrumming down either side of him.

Charlie Ewels lines-up alongside Matt Garvey in the second row, and in the back row Guy Mercer takes his place on the openside and captains the side, with Leroy Houston and David Denton continuing at blindside and number eight respectively.

Match : Bath Rugby v Worcester Warriors
Date : Sunday 27 December
Kick Off : 2.30pm
Venue : Recreation Ground
Match Officials
Referee : Tom Foley (10th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Craig Maxwell-Keys.
TMO: Stuart Terheege


Bath Rugby

15. Tom Homer, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Horacio Agulla, 10. Rhys Priestland, 9. Chris Cook, 1. Max Lahiff, 2. Ross Batty, 3. Henry Thomas, 4. Matt Garvey, 5. Charlie Ewels, 6. Leroy Houston, 7. Guy Mercer ( c ), 8. David Denton

Replacements :16. Tom Dunn, 17. Nick Auterac, 18. David Wilson, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Francois Louw, 21. Niko Matawalu, 22. George Ford, 23. Anthony Watson


15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr, 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 2 Niall Annett, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 5 Darren Barry, 6 Matt Cox, 7 Sam Betty, 8 Phil Dowson (C)

Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin , 18 Joe Rees, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Marco Mama, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Tom Biggs

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