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Bath v Saracens - Aviva Premiership match preview

Last updated: 21st December 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Alex Goode of Saracens runs with the ball during the Heineken Cup

Alex Goode: Rested for the trip to the Rec

Nick Abendanon Bath v Wasps

Nick Abendanon: Back at full-back for Bath

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Bath have made six changes to the starting line-up which thumped Calvisano last weekend for Saturday's Aviva premiership showdown with Saracens.

Nick Abendanon returns at full-back with Horacio Agulla, fresh from a hat-trick, and Tom Biggs starting on the wings. Kyle Eastmond is retained at outside centre with Ben Williams inside him. Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens continue their half-back partnership.

Paul James and Lee Mears both come back into the front row, packing down alongside David Wilson. Captain Stuart Hooper also returns to the starting line-up, partnering Dominic Day in the second row.

Simon Taylor shifts to No 8, with Francois Louw coming in on the blindside and Guy Mercer taking the openside.

Meanwhile, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has made three changes to the starting line-up that beat Munster last weekend.

In the backs, Alex Goode and Brad Barritt are rested which sees Chris Wyles start at full-back and Charlie Hodgson named at fly-half. Owen Farrell switches to inside centre.

In the forwards, Mako Vunipola starts the match with Rhys Gill switching to the bench. Andy Saull also returns after missing last week with a hamstring injury.

Ernst Joubert, Jackson Wray, Alistair Hargreaves, Joe Maddock, Adam Powell, Jacques Burger and Justin Melck all miss the match through injury.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Kyle Eastmond, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Dan Hipkiss.

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Will Fraser, 6 George Kruis, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 James Short.

What they said...

Bath head coach Gary Gold

"It's probably going to be up there with the ultimate test - Saracens are an outstanding team. They are competitive in Europe and competitive in the Premiership. They were Premiership winners a few years ago and every single game they play, they expect to win."

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Friday 3rd October
Aviva Premiership
19:45Bath vs Saracens
Saturday 4th October
15:00Harlequins vs London Welsh
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15:15Gloucester vs Leicester
Sunday 5th October
14:00Sale vs Wasps
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19:45Leicester vs Harlequins
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14:30London Welsh vs Newcastle
15:00Saracens vs Gloucester
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Sunday 12th October
14:00Wasps vs Bath
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19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
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Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
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Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
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Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins

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Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

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