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Bath Rugby v Saracens Premiership Preview


Bath host Saracens at the Recreation Ground

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Article Published: Friday 21 December 2012


Bath have made six changes to the starting line-up that beat Calvisano in the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend for their Aviva Premiership match against Saracens at at the Recreation Ground.

Nick Abendanon returns at fullback, and Horacio Agulla and Tom Biggs start on the wings. Kyle Eastmond continues at outside centre with Ben Williams inside him.

Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens continue their half-back partnership.

Paul James and Lee Mears both come back into the front row, packing down alongside David Wilson. Captain Stuart Hooper also returns to the starting line-up, partnering Dominic Day in the second row.

Simon Taylor shifts to number 8, with Francois Louw coming in on the blindside and Guy Mercer taking the openside.

With tomorrow being the last Saturday before Christmas it is anticipated that the centre of Bath will be very busy, as will the roads, trains and buses into the city, so please leave plenty of time to make your way to the Rec.

Bath Rugby's last seven games in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day.

Bath's only defeat in their last eight matches at The Rec in all competitions was 14-18 to Northampton in the Premiership on 14 September.

Saracens' last seven encounters in all competitions have also been won by the home side on the day, whilst Sarries have not won away from home since they beat Northampton 16-6 at Franklin's Gardens in the Premiership on 27 October.

However, Saracens remain the best away side in the Premiership with 17 league points accumulated on their travels so far. Saracens are in second spot in the table despite scoring AND conceding just nine tries in their ten games so far.

Bath's only victory in their last seven fixtures with Saracens in all competitions was 16-14 at Vicarage Road in the Premiership on 28 February 2010.

Sarries have won on their last three visits to The Rec and Director of Rugby Mark McCall has made three changes to the starting line-up that beat Munster last weekend.

In the backs, Alex Goode and Brad Barritt are rested which sees Chris Wyles start at full back and Charlie Hodgson named at fly-half. Owen Farrell switches to inside centre.

In the forwards, Mako Vunipola starts the match with Rhys Gill switching to the bench. Andy Saull also returns after missing last week with a hamstring injury.

Ernst Joubert, Jackson Wray, Alistair Hargreaves, Joe Maddock, Adam Powell, Jacques Burger and Justin Melck all miss the match through injury.


Match : Bath Rugby v Saracens
Date : Saturday 22nd December
Venue : Recreation Ground
Kick Off : 1.15pm
Live on: ESPN HD
Match Officials
Referee:
Greg Garner (40th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Gareth Copsey.
TMO: Graham Hughes

Teams

Bath

15. Nick Abendanon, 14. Horacio Agulla, 13. Kyle Eastmond , 12. Ben Williams , 11. Tom Biggs, 10. Stephen Donald , 9. Michael Claassens, 1. Paul James, 2. Lee Mears, 3. David Wilson , 4. Stuart Hooper (c), 5. Dominic Day, 6. Francois Louw, 7. Guy Mercer, 8. Simon Taylor

Replacements :16. Tom Dunn, 17. Charlie Beech, 18. Anthony Perenise, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Will Skuse, 21. Mark McMillan , 22. Tom Heathcote, 23. Dan Hipkiss

Saracens

15 Chris Wyles , 14 Chris Ashton , 13 Joel Tomkins , 12 Owen Farrell , 11 David Strettle , 10 Charlie Hodgson , 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Kelly Brown , 7 Will Fraser , 6 George Kruis, 5 Mouritz Botha , 4 Steve Borthwick (c) , 3 Matt Stevens , 2 Schalk Brits ,1 Mako Vunipola

Replacements :16 Jamie George , 17 Rhys Gill , 18 Petrus du Plessis , 19 Eoin Sheriff , 20 Andy Saull , 21 Neil de Kock , 22 Duncan Taylor , 23 James Short

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