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TEAMS: Bath get dream back row together at last for Gloucester clash

Francois Louw - Bath

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper has been able to name a back row of Francois Louw, Sam Underhill and Taulupe Faletau for the trip to face rivals Gloucester.

It is the first time ever the trio have played together for Bath and since Underhill established himself as a key figure within England’s pack at the World Cup.

The 15-cap flanker comes into the Bath starting line-up in place of Tom Ellis, who drops to the bench.

It is an added boost to Hooper as Bath travel to Kingsholm off the back of wins over London Irish and Sale Sharks to bookend 2019.

With Louw captaining the side, the second change made is a start for Chris Cook at scrum-half. This comes at the expense of Will Chudley who picked up a ‘minor’ injury in last weekend’s 16-14 win over Sale. For the best sport betting previews head to www.22bet.co.uk/articles/news.

Hooper’s counterpart Johan Ackermann has not been as fortunate in continuity of his Gloucester side.

Six changes has been made to the team which narrowly lost to Northampton Saints nearly a week ago.

Full-back Jason Woodward is one player returning to action after overcoming a groin injury which has kept him sidelined since mid-November.

Wing Ollie Thorley is also back in a back three which retains Tom Marshall, while Billy Twelvetrees replacing Mark Atkinson at inside centre.

Up front, Fraser Balmain starts at tighthead with Jamal Ford-Robinson unavailable having picked up a knock in training this week.

Ben Morgan is also sidelined with the injury picked up at Saints so it’s a new look back-row with Freddie Clarke and Jake Polledri coming into the starting line-up alongside Ruan Ackermann.


Gloucester v Bath (Saturday, 3pm kick-off)

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (capt); 1 Josh Hohneck, 2 Franco Marais, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Freddie Clarke, 7 Jake Polledri, 8 Ruan Ackermann

Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McInally, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Francois Louw (capt), 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Tom Ellis, 21 Ollie Fox, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Aled Brew

Sale Sharks v Harlequins (Friday, 7.45pm kick-off)

Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff; 1 Ross Harrison, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 3 WillGriff John, 4 Bryn Evans, 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jono Ross (capt), 7 Tom Curry, 8 Dan du Preez

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Valery Morozov, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Phillips, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Gus Warr, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Marland Yarde

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Gabriel Ibitoye, 13 Cadan Murley, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Elia Elia, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Stephan Lewies, 5 Matt Symons, 6 James Chisholm, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 8 Tom Lawday

Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Semi Kunatani, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Aaron Morris

Leicester Tigers v Bristol Bears (Saturday, 1pm kick-off)

Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Jordan Olowofela, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Tomas Lavanini, 5 Calum Green, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Jordan Taufua, 8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Guy Thompson, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Noel Reid, 23 George Worth

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Toby Fricker, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Will Hurrell, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall; 1 Jordan Lay, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 John Afoa, 4 Chris Vui, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Steven Luatua (capt), 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Nathan Hughes

Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Luke Morahan

Saracens v Worcester Warriors (Saturday, 3pm kick-off)

Saracens: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (capt), 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Titi Lamositele, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Will Skelton, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Joel Kpoku, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Manu Vunipola, 23 Duncan Taylor

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Ed Fidow, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom Howe, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Michael Heaney; 1 Callum Black, 2 Matt Moulds (capt), 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Sam Lewis, 8 GJ van Velze

Replacements: 16 Joe Taufete’e, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Marco Mama, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Scott van Breda, 23 Ollie Lawrence

London Irish v Exeter Chiefs (Sunday, 2.30pm kick-off)

London Irish: 15 Alivereti Veitokani, 14 Belgium Tuatagaloa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Stephen Myler; 1 Allan Dell, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Franco van der Merwe (capt), 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Steve Mafi, 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Albert Tuisue

Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Barney Maddison, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Jacob Atkins, 23 Bryce Campbell

Exeter: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Dave Dennis, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Don Armand, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Phil Dollman

Wasps v Northampton Saints (Sunday, 3pm kick-off)

Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Tom West, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Joe Launchbury (capt), 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 Jack Willis, 7 Thomas Young, 8 Nizaam Carr

Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Thibaud Flament, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Will Porter, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Juan de Jongh

Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach; 1 Alex Waller (co-capt), 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Paul Hill, 4 Alex Moon, 5 David Ribbans, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Tom Wood, 8 Teimana Harrison (co-capt)

Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro

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