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Anthony Watson to make first start for Bath after 13 months out

England star Anthony Watson will see game time before the end of the Premiership season.

The World Cup hopeful will start at full-back for Bath for their trip to play Sale Sharks on Friday night, ending a 13-month wait to return to action.

Capped 36 times by England, Watson has not seen action since rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year’s Six Nations.

He did resume training several weeks ago but with such an injury being considered the worst you can suffer, Bath’s medical team have been keen not to rush Watson back.

Alas, the time has arrived for Watson to stage a remarkable comeback and get back into England reckoning ahead of the World Cup this autumn.

The 25-year-old will start in a Bath back three including Ruaridh McConnochie and Joe Cokanasiga for the Premiership clash.

Lock Charlie Ewels will lead the team at AJ Bell Stadium, while there is also a return from injury for wing Semesa Rokoduguni who takes a place on the bench.

A win for either team would embolden their hopes of a top-four finish as well as securing qualification for next year’s Champions Cup, with Bath currently in seventh and Sale in eighth.

Bath team to play Sale Sharks in the Premiership (Friday, 19:45 kick-off):

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Max Lahiff, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Charlie Ewels (capt), 6 Tom Ellis, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Zach Mercer.

Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Elliott Stooke, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Semesa Rokodugni

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