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TEAMS: Rhys Webb to make Bath debut against rivals Bristol

Rhys Webb

New Bath signing Rhys Webb will make his first appearance for the Premiership club against south-west rivals Bristol Bears.

The Welsh scrum-half agreed to join Bath on a deal until the end of the season earlier this week, and comes straight into the squad alongside countryman Rhys Priestland at fly-half.

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper has also utilised a Six Nations fallow week to include Taulupe Faletau, Will Stuart and Beno Obano in his squad, as the trio return from the Wales and England camps, respectively, for Friday night’s clash.

Both sides come into the match off the back of three straight Premiership wins, with Bath looking to overturn the result from their early season 43-16 defeat at Ashton Gate.

Elsewhere in the pack, Mike Williams comes back into the starting line-up for Tom Ellis, who moves to the bench.

Looking ahead to the match, Hooper shared his belief that Bath’s strong recent form starts with their work on the training ground.

“What we’re doing is attaching some real benefit to what we’re in the week leading up to the games at the weekend,” Hooper said.

“We have had three good wins in a row. What we want to do is keep that going, so the guys have pressing that on the training ground today. The outcome of the 80 minutes at the weekend will be a result of what we doing here in training.

“It’s a combination of everything we do. The have committed to a number of things over these block of games and their hard work is paying off.”

Counterpart Pat Lam has made seven changes to Bristol’s line-up for their visit to the Rec.

Jordan Crane makes his first competitive start of the season to pack down at No.8 in a back row which welcomes back skipper Steven Luatua from a neck injury.

Loosehead prop Yann Thomas starts for the first time in the Premiership this campaign, and will be joined in the front row by hooker Shaun Malton.

Ed Holmes comes into the second-row, while Chris Vui remains at blindside flanker.

Alapati Leiua and Andy Uren are included in the backline, with Henry Purdy missing out due to a hamstring issue.


Bath v Bristol Bears (Sunday, 3pm kick-off)

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhys Webb; 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Jack Walker, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McInally, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Mike Williams, 7 Francois Louw (capt), 8 Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Max Wright

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren; 1 Yann Thomas, 2 Shaun Malton, 3 Lewis Thiede, 4 Ed Holmes, 5 Joe Joyce, 6 Chris Vui, 7 Steven Luatua (capt), 8 Jordan Crane

Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Nathan Hughes, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Mat Protheroe

Northampton Saints v Saracens (Saturday, 3pm kick-off)

Northampton Saints: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach; 1 Francois van Wyk, 2 James Fish, 3 Paul Hill, 4 Alex Coles, 5 Lewis Bean, 6 Tom Wood, 7 JJ Tonks, 8 Teimana Harrison (capt)

Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Ben Glynn, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Andrew Symons, 23 Matt Proctor

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Jack Singleton, 3 Titi Lamositele, 4 Will Skelton, 5 Callum Hunter-Hill, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Ben Earl, 8 Jackson Wray (capt)

Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Joel Kpoku, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Alex Day, 22 Dom Morris, 23 Matt Gallagher

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

Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 George Worth, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Noel Reid, 9 Ben White; 1 Greg Bateman, 2 Jake Kerr, 3 Dan Cole (capt), 4 Tomas Lavanini, 5 Harry Wells, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jordan Taufua, 8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Harry Simmons, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Joe Thomas

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Nick David, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard; 1 Ethan Waller, 2 Matt Moulds (capt), 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Marco Mama, 8 Cornell du Preez

Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Scott van Breda

Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs (Saturday, 3pm kick-off)

Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Ross Chisholm, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Mark Lambert, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Simon Kerrod, 4 Glen Young, 5 Matt Symons, 6 James Chisholm, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 8 Alex Dombrandt

Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Semi Kunatani, 21 Niall Saunders, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Francis Saili

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds (capt), 9 Nic White; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Elvis Taoine, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Sam Skinner, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements: 16 Jordon Poole, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Don Armand, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Ollie Devoto

Gloucester v Sale (Friday, 7:45pm kick-off)

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Callum Braley; 1 Josh Hohneck, 2 Franco Marais, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Ed Slater, 5 Franco Mostert (capt), 6 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Jake Polledri, 8 Ben Morgan

Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Matt Banahan

Sale: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Luke James, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff; 1 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Rob Webber, 3 WillGriff John, 4 Bryn Evans, 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jono Ross (capt), 7 Ben Curry, 8 Dan du Preez

Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Phillips, 20 Matt Postlethwaite, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Denny Solomona

London Irish v Wasps (Sunday, 2:30pm kick-off)

London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Ben Meehan; 1 Harry Elrington, 2 Motu Matu’u, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Franco van der Merwe (capt), 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Matt Rogerson, 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Albert Tuisue

Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Ben Donnell, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bryce Campbell, 23 James Stokes

Wasps: 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson (capt); 1 Ben Harris, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Biyi Alo, 4 Will Rowlands, 5 Thibaud Flament, 6 Brad Shields, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Nizaam Carr

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Will Porter, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Sam Spink

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