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Bath v Sale: Teams
At The Rec, Saturday February 6, kick-off 2.15pm
Butch James will make his long-awaited return to action for Bath on Saturday with the South Africa fly-half recovering from injury to face Sale.
James has been included in the starting XV for the LV= Cup clash with skills and defence coach Brad Davis delighted to have the World Cup winner back.
"It's a boost for the team to have Butch back," admitted Davis.
"It has been a long time coming. It will be great for him to get back out on the field and do what he does best - play rugby."
Bath will be without Scott Hobson, however Guy Mercer, Nathan Catt and Josh Ovens have another chance to showcase their talent on home soil.
"The young guns did a great job against Leicester last weekend," said Davis.
"A few of them had put their hands up to say that they were ready to take the next step and they definitely took the chance to impress.
"This Saturday, those players have another opportunity to really stake their claim and enhance their reputations and I am sure that they will do well."
Sale have named a youthful XV for the trip south, with centre Jordan Davies set for his debut, while fly-half Mark Atkinson will make his first senior start.
On the bench, prop Dan Birchall and the Oxford University pair Ian Kench and Alex Cheeseman will make their Sharks' debuts if they enter the field of play.
"We go to Bath trying to return to winning ways. It's very important to the club that we start winning after some hard games recently," said director of rugby Kingsley Jones.
"Bath's a great play to go and play, and a tough place to win. There are opportunities for some younger guys, and for players looking for contract renewals and the chance to play in the rest of the Guinness Premiership programme.
"Ultimately, we feel that freshening the team with some new faces, playing with experienced forwards, gives us the best chance to go to The Rec and get a win. Obviously, we have to look at other teams' results, but we still have a chance of making the semi-final."
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Jack Cuthbert, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Ryan Davis, 11 Michael Stephenson, 10 Butch James, 9 Scott Bemand, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Peter Short, 4 Stuart Hooper (capt), 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Barnes.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jonny Faamatuainu, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Mike Baxter, 22 Tom Cheeseman, 23 Joe Maddock.
Sale: 15 Marika Vakacegu, 14 Oriol Ripol, 13 Jordan Davies, 12 David Bishop, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Mark Atkinson, 9 Chris Leck, 8 Kristian Ormsby, 7 David Seymour, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Dean Schofield (capt), 3 Martin Halsall, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Gavin Kerr.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 Dan Birchall, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Ian Kench, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Alex Cheeseman, 23 David Doherty.
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|Sunday 8th February|
|Saracens 35 - 18 Exeter|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 17 - 13 London Welsh|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Northampton 29 - 6 Wasps|
|Gloucester 25 - 7 Harlequins|
|Bath 10 - 13 Ospreys|
|London Irish 13 - 31 Newcastle|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 43 Leicester|
|Sale Sharks 38 - 3 Scarlets|
|Sunday 1st February|
|Newcastle 39 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 15 - 20 Saracens|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 32 - 37 Exeter|
|Wasps 42 - 45 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|Scarlets 27 - 18 London Irish|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Northampton|
|Gloucester 32 - 25 Ospreys|
|Harlequins 21 - 23 Bath|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com