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- Aviva Premiership
- 7th Sep 2008
- KO 15:00
- Ground: Memorial Ground
- Att: 11,021
Bristol v Bath: Teams
At Memorial Stadium, Sunday September 7, kick-off 3pm
Bath is a great start for us. The crowd should be packed in there to create a great atmosphere which we're looking forward to.
Bristol head coach Richard Hill
Quotes of the week
Butch James has made himself available to play against Bristol at the Memorial Stadium on Sunday, despite only returning from South Africa on Tuesday.
Keen to pull his Bath shirt back on again, the fly-half insists he is comfortable with his fitness and energy levels and will be looking to put in a strong performance in the local derby.
"It is good to be back in this beautiful city," said James. "I am still feeling good and these first two games are really big for us, so I was keen to play against Bristol.
"I am raring to go and really looking forward to Sunday."
Head coach Steve Meehan echoed James' enthusiasm for the match ahead, having suffered a defeat against Edinburgh in the final of Bath Rugby's pre-season friendly matches.
Highlighting one of the mistakes against Edinburgh, Meehan is confident that his team can rectify their errors: "We did not provide ourselves with quick and clean ball at the ruck against Edinburgh, but everyone is aware what is necessary to win.
"A match against Bristol is always special and I am sure that both teams will come out and deliver something worthy of a Guinness Premiership opening fixture.
"Having a local derby as your first match may focus the mind a little bit more, but only time will really be able to tell that. However, I am sure the supporters are feeling as excited about it as we are."
Bristol prop Mark Irish, after an impressive pre-season, has been selected to start only his second Guinness Premiership game against Bath.
Irish, who spent all of last season on loan at Newbury Blues, last started a Premiership fixture at Leicester Tigers in the 2005-6 season but was widely acknowledged to be one of the top performing props in National One in 2007-8.
Bristol also name three players who will be making their debuts for the club in centre Junior Fatialofa, fly-half Adrian Jarvis and second row Robert Sidoli.
Head coach Richard Hill acknowledged that Bath are a tough team to face first up, however his team are fully prepared for the test.
"Pre-season has gone really well," he said. "Everyone has worked really hard and it's certainly gone better than it did last season when it was well documented that we had a lot of changes on and off the field and were quite disrupted.
"Bath is a great start for us. The crowd should be packed in there to create a great atmosphere which we're looking forward to.
"Traditionally Bath start and finish the season well so we'll need to be on top of our game. They were probably the form side at the end of last season and playing a fantastic brand of rugby."
"We'll have to defend and defend in the opening 20 minutes. They will come out firing on all cylinders and it'll be wave after wave. We need to hold out and not concede.
Hill also passed comment on his new recruits Sidoli, Fatialofa and Jarvis.
"Robert Sidoli comes in at lock," said Hill. "He's a commanding figure and has brought a huge amount of experience and some different ideas with him.
"Junior Fatialofa has made rapid strides and we have great confidence in him. Adrian Jarvis was in great form at Harlequins last season and has looked very calm and assured in pre-season."
Bristol Rugby: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Junior Fatialofa, 12 Kevin Maggs, 11 David Lemi, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Haydn Thomas; 1 Mark Irish, 2 Scott Linklater, 3 Jason Hobson, 4 Nathan Budgett, 5 Robert Sidoli, 6 Andrew Blowers, 7 Joe El Abd (capt), 8 Dan Ward-Smith.
Replacements: 16 David Blaney, 17 Scott Linklater, 18 Mariano Sambucetti, 19 Redford Pennycook, 20 Graeme Beveridge, 21 Ed Barnes, 22 Greg Barden.
Bath:15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Claassens; 1 David Barnes, 2 Lee Mears, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Justin Harrison, 5 Peter Short, 6 Stuart Hooper, 7 Michael Lipman (capt), 8 Jonny Faamatuainu.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Duncan Bell, 18 David Flatman, 19 James Scaysbrook, 20 Scott Bemand, 21 Shaun Berne, 22 Andrew Higgins.
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com