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|Home team||Away Team|
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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 21st March|
|19:45||Worcester vs Wasps|
|Saturday 22nd March|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|17:30||London Irish vs Bath|
|Sunday 23rd March|
|14:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|Friday 28th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 29th March|
|15:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:00||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Northampton vs Leicester|
|Sunday 30th March|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Worcester|
|Friday 11th April|
|19:45||Sale vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 12th April|
|15:00||Worcester vs Exeter|
|15:00||Leicester vs Wasps|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Bath|
|Sunday 13th April|
|14:00||Saracens vs Northampton|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|Friday 18th April|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Leicester|
|Saturday 19th April|
|15:00||Bath vs Worcester|
|15:00||Exeter vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 20th April|
|14:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|Saturday 3rd May|
|15:00||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 2nd March|
|Newcastle 18 - 41 Leicester|
|Saturday 1st March|
|Northampton 39 - 13 Gloucester|
|Exeter 18 - 0 London Irish|
|Harlequins 21 - 20 Worcester|
|Wasps 17 - 21 Sale Sharks|
|Friday 28th February|
|Bath 10 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 23rd February|
|Saracens 23 - 10 Exeter|
|Newcastle 16 - 22 Northampton|
|London Irish 15 - 20 Leicester|
|Saturday 22nd February|
|Worcester 12 - 24 Sale Sharks|
|Bath 32 - 25 Wasps|
|Gloucester 25 - 20 Harlequins|
|Sunday 16th February|
|Leicester 11 - 8 Gloucester|
|Saturday 15th February|
|Exeter 23 - 27 Bath|
|Wasps 20 - 23 London Irish|
|Northampton 30 - 14 Worcester|
|Harlequins 18 - 14 Newcastle|
|Friday 14th February|
|Sale Sharks 10 - 15 Saracens|
|Sunday 9th February|
|Harlequins 11 - 10 Wasps|
|Saturday 8th February|
|Exeter 16 - 17 Northampton|
|Saracens 13 - 22 London Irish|
|Bath 24 - 6 Newcastle|
|Friday 7th February|
|Sale Sharks 24 - 19 Gloucester|
|Worcester 22 - 23 Leicester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com