Home > Aviva Premiership > Bath v Worcester preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash

Bath v Worcester preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash

  • Bath host Worcester in Round 7 of the Aviva Premiership at the Rec on Sunday: 14:30 kick-off
  • George Ford drops to the bench for the hosts
  • Warriors make two changes to the side that almost overcame Leicester three weeks ago
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland replaces George Ford as Bath ring the changes following last week’s European Champions Cup defeat at home by Wasps.

In the backs, Tom Homer starts at fullback, with Semesa Rokoduguni and Horacio Agulla outside him on the wings.

Jonathan Joseph is joined by Ollie Devoto in the midfield, as Rhys Priestland partners Chris Cook in the half-backs.

Ross Batty retains the number two shirt, with Max Lahiff and Henry Thomas scrumming down either side of him.

Charlie Ewels lines-up alongside Matt Garvey in the second row, and in the back row Guy Mercer takes his place on the openside and captains the team, with Leroy Houston and David Denton continuing at blindside and number eight respectively.

Meanwhile, Dean Ryan has made two changes to the Warriors side which pushed Leicester Tigers earlier this month.

Nick Schonert returns to the front row following a facial injury to partner Na’ama Leleimalefaga and Niall Annett while Fijian Tevita Cavubati replaces Donncha O’Callaghan in the second row alongside Darren Barry.

Phil Dowson will skipper the side in the absence of GJ van Velze with Matt Cox and Sam Betty at six and seven respectively.

An unchanged backline sees stand-off Tom Heathcote line-up next to scrum-half Jonny Arr and centres Ryan Mills and Wynand Olivier, while the back three comprises Chris Pennell, Bryce Heem and Cooper Vuna.

Meanwhile, Dean Ryan has made two changes to the Warriors side which pushed Leicester Tigers earlier this month.

Nick Schonert returns to the front row following a facial injury to partner Na’ama Leleimalefaga and Niall Annett while Fijian Tevita Cavubati replaces Donncha O’Callaghan in the second row alongside Darren Barry.

Phil Dowson will skipper the side in the absence of GJ van Velze with Matt Cox and Sam Betty at six and seven respectively.

An unchanged backline sees stand-off Tom Heathcote line-up next to scrum-half Jonny Arr and centres Ryan Mills and Wynand Olivier, while the back three comprises Chris Pennell, Bryce Heem and Cooper Vuna.


KEY STATS
  • Bath’s only win in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures was 45-14 against London Irish in Reading on November 7.
  • The hosts have won just one of their last four home games at the Recreation Ground in all tournaments: 19-16 over Leinster on November 21.
  • Worcester have lost their last five matches in all competitions since beating La Rochelle at Sixways in the Challenge Cup on November 14. 
  • The Warriors only victory on the road in Premiership Rugby since New Year’s Day 2012 came when they visited Newcastle in March 2014.
  • Bath have won their last five encounters with Worcester since the Warriors 16-7 victory at Sixways in Aviva Premiership Rugby in November 2011.
  • Worcester havelost on all ten occasions they have visited the Recreation Ground in all competitions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bath: Rhys Priestland

The Welshman, who was involved in the Wales squad for this year’s World Cup, has been drafted in by Bath coach Mike Ford as he looks for a change in fortunes. Replacing George Ford is a big call, and much responsibility will rest on his shoulders in what looks set to be a testing afternoon against a Worcester side who will be desperate to get back to winning ways.


Worcester: Tom Heathcote

If the Warriors are to get anything from this game they need to ensure Tom Heathcote is on top of his game. The number 10 sailed over a last minute drop goal for the Warriors to win their opening game against Northampton, and he will need to deliver that kind of magic again here to give his side any hope.


 

 

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 David Denton, 7 Guy Mercer (c), 6 Leroy Houston, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 David Wilson, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 George Ford, 23 Anthony Watson

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Marco Mama, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Tom Biggs


 

Date: Sunday, December 27
Venue: The Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Craig Maxwell-Keys
TMO: Stuart Terheege


 

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