London Irish v Bath Rugby Premiership Preview

London Irish host Exeter Chiefs at the Madejski Stadium

Bath have named their Aviva Premiership Rugby team to play London Irish at the Madejski Stadium and have named fly-half Rhys Priestland to make his first start for the club.

The Welshman comes in alongside scrum-half Chris Cook, who makes his second start of the season.

The wings remain unchanged from last weekend’s match in Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni, as does the centre combination of Kyle Eastmond and Ollie Devoto.

At 15, Tom Homer will play against his former club for the first time.

Front row trio Nick Auterac, Rob Webber and Henry Thomas start together for the first time since last December’s clinical 16-39 victory against Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Captain Stuart Hooper and Dom Day are named in the second row, with Matt Garvey, Alafoti Faosiliva and Leroy Houston forming a powerful ball-carrying back row.

On the bench, loosehead prop Nathan Catt is in line to make an eagerly-awaited return from injury, whilst promising Academy forwards Tom Ellis and Max Northcote-Green are also among the replacements.

London Irish’s most recent Aviva Premiership Rugby victory was at home to Sale on 12th April.

The Exiles were defeated 16-28 by Leicester in their previous game at Madejski Stadium and have not lost successive Premiership Rugby fixtures at the venue since last November.

Bath Rugby have slipped to back-to-back defeats at Wasps and at home to Harlequins but have not lost three in a row since February.

London Irish have won just one of their last eleven Premiership encounters against Bath: 29-22 in Reading in September 2012.

Bath have won on 7 of their last eight visits to Madejski Stadium.

London Irish head coach Tom Coventry has named a team with five changes and Leo Halavatau comes in to starting line-up in the front row alongside David Paice and Tom Smallbone.

George Skivington and Matt Symons continue their partnership in the second row with Tom Guest and David Sisi starting in the backrow to play alongside Rob McCusker.

Brendan McKibbin and Shane Geraghty form a new half back combination and Fergus Mulchrone and Tom Fowlie play together in the centre for the second successive game. Aseli Tikiorotuma and Topsy Ojo are joined by Alex Lewington in the back three.

Dom Waldouck has recovered from injury to be named among the replacements along with Gerard Ellis, Tom Court, Halani Aulika, Eoin Sheriff, Luke Narraway, Scott Steele and Chris Noakes.

London Irish Head Coach, Tom Coventry, said, “We made significant strides last week in our performance against Saracens and it is important we build on that progress against Bath tomorrow afternoon. We have made changes for this week and those that have come in to the squad are there on merit. We look forward to playing at home again, and putting on a good display in front of our supporters.”

Match : London Irish v Bath Rugby
Date : Saturday 7 November
Venue : Madejski Stadium,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :Tom Foley (9th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falla & Nigel Carrick
TMO: Rowan Kitt.

Teams

London Irish

15. Topsy Ojo , 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Tom Fowlie; 12. Fergus Mulchrone; 11. Aseli Tikoirotuma , 10. Shane Geraghty , 9. Brendan McKibbin;8. Rob McCusker ; 7. David Sisi; ; 6. Tom Guest; 5. Matt Symons; 4. George Skivington (C) , 3. Leo Halavatau; 2. David Paice 1. Tom Smallbone

Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis; 17. Tom Court , 18. Halani Aulika , 19. Eoin Sheriff; 20. Luke Narraway , 21. Scott Steele; 22. Chris Noakes; 23. Dom Waldouck

Bath

15 Tom Homer , 14 Semesa Rokoduguni , 13 Ollie Devoto , 12 Kyle Eastmond , 11 Matt Banahan , 10 Rhys Priestland , 9 Chris Cook , 1 Nick Auterac , 2 Rob Webber , 3 Henry Thomas , 4 Stuart Hooper (c) , 5 Dom Day , 6 Matt Garvey , 7 Alafoti Faosiliva , 8 Leroy Houston

Replacements :16 Tom Dunn , 17 Nathan Catt , 18 Max Lahiff , 19 Tom Ellis , 20 Max Northcote-Green , 21 Niko Matawalu , 22 George Ford , 23 Jeff Williams

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