Saracens v Bath preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
League leaders Saracens will host Bath at Allianz Park on Saturday
Sarries make four changes to the side which beat Toulouse
Rob Webber will make his 70th appearance in Bath colours
Saracens will look to continue their superb start to the 2015/16 season when they return to Aviva Premiership action on Saturday against Bath at Allianz Park.
Having only lost one game this season, the London outfit will be quietly confident of victory while Bath will be desperate to improve their poor log position as they currently lie ninth. This promises to be a fiercely contested encounter.
Jacques Burger returns to Premiership action for Saracens, starting his first league game since November. The Namibian loose forward will line up alongside Jackson Wray and Michael Rhodes in the Sarries back row.
Prop Petrus du Plessis and lock Maro Itoje also come into the pack for Sarries, who suffered their first defeat of the season in their last league outing against Harlequins.
Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall said: “Our attention is solely focussed on a challenging block of Aviva Premiership games throughout the Six Nations. From the beginning of the season we knew this period of the season would be very demanding and we are confident that we have the calibre of players across the squad to thrive during this run of games.
“Bath will be a real test of where we are at squad-wise as they are a quality outfit and 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 against Mike Ford’s side.”
Meanwhile, Dan Bowden makes his Bath bow at inside centre for the meeting with the reigning English champions, as Matt Banahan moves from wing to thirteen while Rob Webber makes his 70th career appearance for Bath.
Rhys Priestland and Chris Cook make their third outing together in the half-backs, following successful forays in the wins against Worcester Warriors and London Irish earlier in the season
Bath have won just one of their last 11 encounters with Saracens including last season’s Premiership Rugby final – that was a 21-11 victory at the Rec in October 2014
They have not been successful on Saracens soil since a trip to Vicarage Road in February 2010.
Bath are reeling from a run of four losses in all competitions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Saracens: Maro Itoje
Bath: Semesa Rokoduguni
Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Duncan Taylor, 13 Marcelo, Bosch 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 David Wilson, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Alafoti Faosiliva, 22 Jonathan Evans, 23 Max Clark.
Date: Saturday, January 30
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Andy Watson
TMO: Geoffrey Warren