Preview: Bath Rugby vs. Bristol Bears – prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Bath Rugby vs. Bristol Bears – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday’s Gallagher Premiership clash between Bath Rugby and Bristol Bears, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

It is derby weekend in the Gallagher Premiership, and Round Six will get started under the lights at the Rec, where Bath Rugby will play host to Bristol Bears on Friday evening.

The hosts have made a solid start to the Premiership campaign this term, currently in third place with 17 points, while the Bears are in seventh place with 10 points after the first five matches. …Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Match preview

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Bath come into this one after staging an impressive comeback in the second half of their last match, overcoming a 10-point deficit to secure a 45-27 victory against their arch-rivals Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm.

Gloucester made a very fast start and were 20-10 up at the break, but Bath were excellent in the second period, with Thomas du Toit, Beno Obano and Ollie Lawrence all getting over the try line.

That result meant that the hosts avoided what would have been a third successive loss following a 24-18 defeat against Northampton Saints and a narrow one-point loss to Leicester Tigers at the end of last month.

Bath will now look to build on that result, but they will know that they will need to be at their best here against a Bears side that have won the last three encounters between these sides.

© Reuters

Meanwhile, the Bristol Bears find themselves on a three-game losing streak, which includes defeats at the hands of the Harlequins, Exeter Chiefs and most recently, the Sale Sharks last weekend.

Against the Sharks, England fly-half George Ford played a pivotal role as the playmaking maestro, inspiring Sale to a 27-13 victory over Bristol at Ashton Gate and handing the Bears their third successive defeat.

The Bears secured an early lead in the contest with a try from Josh Caulfield, followed by two penalties and a conversion from Callum Sheedy, but they were unable to find a late score to secure a consolation losing bonus point against Sale’s resilient defence.

Nevertheless, despite their recent challenges, Bristol have the psychological edge here, having emerged victorious in the last three head-to-head encounters, which includes a 15-13 triumph in February.

Bath Rugby Gallagher Premiership form:

Bath Rugby form (all competitions):

Bristol Bears Gallagher Premiership form:

Bristol Bears form (all competitions):

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Team News

Following their impressive display against Gloucester last week, Miles Reid and Sam Underhill retain their positions on the flanks, while Jaco Coetzee joins the starting pack at number eight, with Alfie Barbeary dropping to the bench after his knock last week.

Scottish international Cameron Redpath partners with England international Ollie Lawrence in the center, while Will Muir and Joe Cokanasiga maintain their positions on the wings, and Matt Gallagher is introduced at full-back to complete the starting 15.

Ed Holmes makes a comeback in the second-row, teaming up with Joe Batley, and in the front-row, England international Ellis Genge returns to the loosehead position.

In the back-row, James Dun is selected alongside Harry Thacker and Magnus Bradbury, as Fitz Harding is sidelined due to injury.

Bath Rugby starting lineup: 15. Matt Gallagher, 14. Joe Cokanasiga, 13. Ollie Lawrence, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Will Muir, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ben Spencer (c), 8. Jaco Coetzee, 7. Sam Underhill, 6. Miles Reid, 5. Charlie Ewels, 4. Fergus Lee-Warner, 3. Will Stuart, 2. Tom Dunn, 1. Beno Obano

Replacements: 16. Niall Annett, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Johannes Jonker, 19. GJ van Velze, 20. Alfie Barbeary, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Orlando Bailey, 23. Max Ojomoh

Bristol Bears starting lineup: 15. Rich Lane, 14. Piers O’Conor, 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11. Gabriel Ibitoye, 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Harry Randall (c), 8. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Harry Thacker, 6. James Dun, 5. Joe Batley, 4. Ed Holmes, 3. Max Lahiff, 2. Gabriel Oghre, 1. Ellis Genge

Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Jake Woolmore, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Josh Caulfield, 20. Dan Thomas, 21. Kieran Marmion, 22. James Williams, 23. Max Malins

We say: Bath Rugby 27-24 Bristol Bears

While Bristol have the advantage in the recent head-to-head standings, they have not been at their best in recent weeks and come into this match following three consecutive defeats. Bath claimed a very good win over Gloucester last week, and we fancy them to secure another victory in this one.

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