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RUGBY: Trio to start for Bath
12:49pm Friday 31st August 2012 in Sport News
BATH will hand competitive debuts to three new players as they kick off their Aviva Premiership campaign at Worcester Warriors tomorrow.
Paul James, Dominic Day and Kyle Eastmond will all start at Sixways as the new era under head coach Gary Gold gets under way.
James and Day, who joined from the Ospreys and Scarlets, will start at loosehead prop and in the second row respectively.
James is joined in the front row by Lee Mears and David Wilson, with Day joining forces with captain Stuart Hooper in the engine room.
Francois Louw, recently selected to join the Springboks squad for the Rugby Championship, Carl Fearns and Ben Skirving complete the pack.
Olly Barkley pulls on the fly-half shirt in a competitive fixture for the first time since November 2010, renewing his half-back partnership with Michael Claassens.
Rugby League convert Eastmond, who has been restricted by injury to just three appearances from the bench, will start on the left wing, with Tom Biggs on the opposite side. Matt Banahan and Dan Hipkiss combine in the centres, with Nick Abendanon named at full-back.
Gold said: “We’ve had a good pre-season, and are pleased with the results, but we all know the real hard work is just beginning and that areas of our game still need improving.
“Worcester are a difficult side to prepare for. They have a good strong pack, a staunch defence and they are a team that work very hard for one another, which is always difficult to counter.”
Bath: 15. Nick Abendanon, 14. Tom Biggs, 13. Dan Hipkiss, 12. Matt Banahan, 11. Kyle Eastmond, 10. Olly Barkley, 9. Michael Claassens, 1. Paul James, 2. Lee Mears, 3. David Wilson, 4. Stuart Hooper (capt), 5. Dominic Day, 6. Carl Fearns, 7. Francois Louw, 8. Ben Skirving.
Replacements: 16. Ross Batty, 17. Nathan Catt, 18. Kane Palma-Newport, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Will Skuse, 21. Mark McMillan, 22. Ollie Devoto, 23. Jack Cuthbert.
NEWS FROM BATH'S OPENING MATCH AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK THIS WEEKEND AND IN NEXT WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES