Bath welcome Wasps to The Recreation Ground in the European Champions Cup on Saturday: 15:15 kick-off
The hosts make three changes to the side that overcame Wasps at the Ricoh last weekend
Wasps make three changes with Jimmy Gopperth returning to fly-half
Bath head coach Mike Ford has made three changes to face Wasps in the second of back-to-back European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures at the Rec on Saturday.
The black, blue and whites were narrow winners over their Premiership rivals at the Ricoh Arena last week, with fly-half George Ford kicking a dramatic late touchline conversion to snatch a 25-23 win.
The backs remain unchanged while there is a single change made in each row of the pack.
Nick Auterac comes into the front-row at loosehead prop, alongside hooker Ross Batty and tighthead David Wilson. Matt Garvey moves up from blindside to the second-row, where he starts alongside Dave Attwood.
In the back-row, Leroy Houston is brought in at blindside, as Francois Louw and David Denton remain at seven and eight respectively.
Meanwhile, ahead of the trip to the West Country Dai Young, Wasps head coach, said he had been pleased with the response from his team following Sunday’s loss.
“We were all frustrated with the performance and the manner in which we lost the game last weekend,” said Young.
“But everyone has come back to the club with a positive mentality, and I’ve been pleased with the reaction we’ve seen from the players this week.
“The back-to-back games throw up an interesting battle and both sides will know how the other wants to play, which means we have to be even more clinical and precise with what we are doing.
“We all know how tough it is to win at The Rec, but we go there confident in our game and with the belief that we can get a positive result if things click for us.”
Wasps make three changes from the starting XV that narrowly missed out last weekend with Frank Halai’s returning to the wing; Jimmy Gopperth starting at fly-half and In the pack, Lorenzo Cittadini starts in place of the injured Jake Cooper-Woolley, with Phil Swainston covering on the bench.
Bath have now won six of their last seven Champions Cup fixtures and have won each of their last three at home.
This will be the first time in the Champions Cup that Bath Rugby will host a fellow English side; they have however won five out of five Challenge Cup matches when hosting English teams.
Wasps have won three of their last four games away from home in the Champions Cup, by a margin of 15 points on each occasion.
Bath 2/5, Draw 33/1, Wasps 9/4
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bath: Jonathan Joseph
Wasps: Matt Mullan
Thi visitors prop has made more tackles (36) without missing one than any other player in this season’s Champions Cup.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 David Denton, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Leroy Houston, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 David Wilson, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer.Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Date: Saturday, December 19
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Cyril Lafon (France,) Stéphane Boyer (France)
TMO: Eric Gonthier (France)