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RUGBY: Banahan back for Bath
1:27pm Friday 2nd November 2012 in Sport
MATT Banahan will make his first appearance since the second round of the Aviva Premiership on Sunday as he returns to the Bath starting line-up for the game against London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium (3pm).
Banahan comes into the outside centre shirt, partnering Ben Williams. Tom Biggs and Kyle Eastmond continue on the wings, with Nick Abendanon at full-back. Stephen Donald and Michael Claassens also continue their half-back partnership.
Anthony Perenise starts at tighthead in place of David Wilson, scrumming down with Lee Mears and Paul James in the front row. Dominic Day and Dave Attwood combine in the second row, while in the back row, injuries to Carl Fearns and Francois Louw see club captain Stuart Hooper start on the blindside flank, with Will Skuse making his first Aviva Premiership start on the openside. Ben Skirving continues at the back of the scrum.
Head coach Gary Gold has no doubt that Sunday’s game will be another tough challenge for Bath, despite recording a 40-31 victory over London Welsh in pre-season.
“I don’t think you can really read much into the pre-season result, this will be a very different game,'' said Gold.
"They’re a good group of players, are well coached and have a great attitude to work hard for each other – I’ve been impressed by what they’ve done this season.
“This Sunday is going to be another tough encounter for us, especially with their ability to dig in for the win at home, and we know that we have to achieve the same level of performance and attitude as we did last weekend against Exeter to get a good result.”
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ben Williams, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 1 Paul James, 2 Lee Mears, 3 Anthony Perenise, 4 Dominic Day, 5 Dave Attwood, 6 Stuart Hooper (capt), 7 Will Skuse, 8 Ben Skirving.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Horacio Agulla.
NEWS FROM SUNDAY'S MATCH AGAINST LONDON WELSH AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS IN NEXT WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES