Preview: Bath v Harlequins

Second-placed Harlequins travel to Bath as they look to reach the Guinness Premiership summit, for two hours at least, at the Rec on Saturday.

Bath head coach Steve Meehan has handed Romanian prop Paulica Ion his club debut since returning from World Cup duty in France.

Ion replaces Aaron Jarvis at tighthead, whilst Meehan also recalls full-back Nick Abendanon, flank Michael Lipman and scrum-half Michael Claassens in place of Andy Higgins, James Scaysbrook and Nick Walshe respectively.

Meanwhile, Quins’ director of rugby Dean Richards has kept faith with the XV that edged to a 24-18 victory over Bristol last weekend as they continue their impressive season start.

The only changes are found on the bench where Chris Brooker and wing Ugo Monye oust Christophe Laurent and Charlie Amesbury.

More to follow…

Form: Bath and Quins have enjoyed impressive openings to the new season, lying second and fifth in the early standings. However, despite Quins’ placing just behind the high-flying Gloucester, Dean Richards’ men go into the game on a four-game away losing-streak. They also have only managed to win at the Rec on one occasion since 1999; a 17-15 success in February 2005.

The teams:

15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Ian Davey, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Zak Feaunati (c), 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jonny Faamatuainu, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Peter Short, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Barnes.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 David Flatman, 18 Andy Beattie, 19 Daniel Browne, 20 Nick Walshe, 21 Alex Crockett, 22 Jack Cuthbert.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Hal Luscombe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Simon Keogh, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Steve So’oialo, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Paul Volley (c), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Jim Evans, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 John Brooks, 18 Nicolas Spanghero, 19 Will Skinner, 20 Chris Hala’ufia, 21 Tosh Masson, 22 Ugo Monye.

Date: Saturday, 13 October 2007
Kick-off: 12:30 BST (11:30 GMT)
Venue: Recreation Ground
Referee: Andrew Small
Touch judges: Paul Dix, Peter Huckle
Assessor: Brian Leigh
Television match official: Geoff Warren

365 Digital

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