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London Welsh v Bath Rugby Premiership Preview


London Welsh host Bath Rugby at the Kassam Stadium

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Article Published: Friday 2 November 2012


Former England back Matt Banahan has been named in the Bath starting line up for the first time since the second round of the Aviva Premiership for Sunday's game between London Welsh and Bath at the Kassam Stadium.

Banahan comes into the outside centre shirt, partnering Ben Williams. Tom Biggs and Kyle Eastmond continue on the wings, with Nick Abendanon at fullback. Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens also continue their half-back partnership.

Anthony Perenise starts at tighthead in place of David Wilson, scrumming down with Lee Mears and Paul James in the front row.

Dominic Day and Dave Attwood combine in the engine room once more. In the back row, injuries to Carl Fearns and Francois Louw see Club captain Stuart Hooper start on the blindside flank, with Will Skuse making his first Aviva Premiership start on the openside. Ben Skirving continues at the back of the scrum.

Head Coach Gary Gold has no doubt that Sunday's game will be another tough challenge for Bath, despite recording a 40-31 victory over London Welsh in pre-season.

"I don't think you can really read much into the pre-season result, this will be a very different game. They're a good group of players, are well coached and have a great attitude to work hard for each other - I've been impressed by what they've done this season.

"This Sunday is going to be another tough encounter for us, especially with their ability to dig in for the win at home, and we know that we have to achieve the same level of performance and attitude as we did last weekend against Exeter to get a good result."

London Welsh have recorded three successive reversals in Aviva Premiership Rugby, since their 29- 19 victory at Sale in round four.

Bath Rugby have won four of their last five matches in all competitions, but have won just once away from home in the Premiership since February: 24-23 at Worcester on 1 September.

The history between the two sides goes back to 1897/98, although they have never before faced each other in the league.

The two clubs have not played a competitive match since The Exiles visited The Rec on 14 February 1987 for a John Player Cup 4th round tie, which Bath won 30-4.

London Welsh's most recent victory over Bath in a competitive match was 28-18 in February 1979 at Old Deer Park in a first round cup tie.

They also famously met in the 1985 John Player Cup final at Twickenham, a game which Bath won.

London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones has made seven changes including bringing Tom Arscott back into the side from injury at full back with Tom Voyce moving to the wing.

There's a change in the centres with Gavin Henson partnering Sonny Parker, while Gordon Ross takes over the number ten jersey and Nick Runciman starts at scrum half.

There are two changes in the forwards. Tom Bristow starts at loosehead in place of Franck Montanella and Lee Beach comes into the side at number eight for Alfie To'oala. Welsh take to the field on Sunday with five former Bath players in their starting XV Nick Scott, Tom Voyce, Paulica Ion, Martin Purdy and captain Jonathan Mills - plus another on the bench in Billy Moss.

When the sides met in a pre-season friendly at The Rec on August 11 it was the Exiles' first outing since confirmation of the club's promotion to the Aviva Premiership.

Bath won 40-31 with Welsh's tries coming from Dan George, Jonah Holmes, Paulica Ion and Ashley Smith. Prior to that friendly, the club's hadn't met since the 1992/93 season, when Bath won 37-7 on home soil.

Match : London Welsh v Bath Rugby
Date : Sunday 4th November
Venue : Kassam Stadium
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Referee: Andrew Small (78th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Stuart Terheege.

Teams

London Welsh

15. Tom Arscott, 14. Nick Scott, 13. Sonny Parker, 12. Gavin Henson, 11. Tom Voyce, 10. Gordon Ross, 9. Nick Runciman, 1. Tom Bristow, 2. Neil Briggs, 3. Paulica Ion, 4. Martin Purdy, 5. Matt Corker, 6. Jonathan Mills (c), 7. Michael Hills, 8. Lee Beach.

Replacements: 16. Dan George, 17. Bill Moss, 18. Arthur Joly, 19. Adam Brown, 20. Mike Denbee, 21. Tyson Keats, 22. Seb Jewell, 23. James Lewis.

Bath Rugby

15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Will Skuse, 6 Stuart Hooper (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James

Replacements:16 Brett Sharman,17 Charlie Beech,18 Kane Palma-Newport,19 Will Spencer,20 Guy Mercer,21 Mark McMillan,22 Sam Vesty,23 Horacio Agulla

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Aviva Premiership Rugby
Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
Pts
1
21
16
1
4
76
2
Bath Rugby
21
15
0
6
70
3
Leicester Tigers
21
14
1
6
64
4
Exeter Chiefs
21
13
0
8
63
             
5
Saracens
21
13
1
7
63
6
Wasps
21
11
1
9
58
7
Sale Sharks
21
11
0
10
54
8
Harlequins
21
10
0
11
49
9
Gloucester Rugby
21
9
1
11
47
10
London Irish
21
7
0
14
37
11
Newcastle Falcons
21
4
1
16
29
12
London Welsh
21
0
0
21
1
Last update :10/5/15 - Verified each monday

Note: Click on team names above for more info
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