Bath v Saracens Premiership Preview

Bath Rugby host Saracens at the Recreation Ground

Saracens have named Chris Ashton in their team to play Bath on Friday night in the Aviva Premiership at The Rec

After defeating Exeter Chiefs last weekend director of rugby Mark McCall welcomes back wing Chris Ashton into the Saracens squad, with the England flyer named on the right wing after serving a ten-week suspension.

Ashton, who last played for Saracens in their European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Ulster in January, will line up in the Saracens back-three alongside Alex Goode (full-back) and Duncan Taylor (left wing). Chris Wyles is rested.

Marcelo Bosch partners skipper Brad Barritt in the Saracens midfield, with Owen Farrell continuing at fly-half after a Man of the Match performance last weekend. Richard Wigglesworth starts at scrum-half with Neil De Kock named amongst the replacements.

Up front, Schalk Brits starts at hooker with Mako Vunipola (loosehead prop) and Petrus Du Plessis (tighthead prop) also named in the Saracens front row. At lock, England pair Maro Itoje and George Kruis will partner each other in the heart of the Saracens engine room.

Openside flanker Will Fraser continues in the back-row and joins Billy Vunipola (No8) and Michael Rhodes (blindside flanker) to make up Saracens’ loose forward triumvirate.

Mark McCall: “Bath are in good form having picked up some results as of late. We know that they possess some very good players who are capable of winning big games. I’m sure that once again we can expect a fiercely contested clash at The Rec.

On Chris Ashton’s return to the side, McCall added: “Chris’ attitude has been really good. He has worked hard on his game throughout the ten-week period and I know he is itching to get out there playing once again.

“He was in great form before the suspension came along and he’s going to provide something different to our team with his X-factor. We’re looking forward to seeing him back out on the pitch on Friday.”

Bath Rugby’s only defeat in the last four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby came at Harlequins on 11th March.

Bath have won their last two games at the Recreation Ground, against London Irish and Newcastle Falcon but have yet to win three in a row at the venue this season.

Saracens returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with their victory over Exeter Chiefs, but four sides have tallied more league points in the last six rounds than Sarries.

Saracens only two away defeats this season have been at Harlequins in round 9 and at Leicester in round 17.

Saracens have lost just one of their last dozen Premiership Rugby encounters with Bath including last season’s final: 11-23 at the Recreation Ground in October 2014.

Meanwhile Bath have named Dave Attwood to make his first Bath Rugby appearance since December and he will be partnered in the second row by Charlie Ewels.

The front row trio of Nathan Catt, Rob Webber and Henry Thomas continue following the victory against Gloucester last time out. Amanaki Mafi returns to the starting line-up at number eight, flanked by Matt Garvey and captain Francois Louw.

Chris Cook and George Ford continue to pull the strings from the half-backs, as Ollie Devoto and Jonathan Joseph resume their midfield partnership.

Last weekend’s double try-scorer Semesa Rokoduguni – who has beaten the most defenders in the Premiership this season – starts on the right wing with Horacio Agulla coming onto the left, and Anthony Watson is at fullback.

The Bookies have given Bath a 6 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Bath Rugby v Saracens
Date : Friday 1 April
Venue : Recreation Ground,
Kick Off : 7.45pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee :Greg Garner (97th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Paul Dix.
TMO: Graham Hughes.



15. Anthony Watson , 14. Semesa Rokoduguni , 13. Jonathan Joseph , 12. Ollie Devoto , 11. Horacio Agulla , 10. George Ford , 9. Chris Cook, 8. Amanaki Mafi , 7. Francois Louw ( c ) , 6. Matt Garvey, 5. Dave Attwood , 4. Charlie Ewels , 3. Henry Thomas , 2. Rob Webber ,1. Nathan Catt

Replacements : 16. Tom Dunn , 17. Max Lahiff , 18. David Wilson , 19. Leroy Houston , 20. David Denton , 21. Guy Mercer , 22. Will Homer , 23. Rhys Priestland


15 Alex Goode , 14 Chris Ashton , 13 Marcelo Bosch , 12 Brad Barritt (c) , 11 Duncan Taylor , 10 Owen Farrell , 9 Richard Wigglesworth , 8 Billy Vunipola , 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis , 4 Maro Itoje , 3 Petrus Du Plessis , 2 Schalk Brits,1 Mako Vunipola

Replacements : 16 Jared Saunders , 17 Richard Barrington , 18 Titi Lamositele , 19 Alistair Hargreaves , 20 Kelly Brown , 21 Neil De Kock , 22 Mike Ellery , 23 Ben Ransom

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