Watson returns to starting line-up for trip to Newcastle Falcons

5 January 2017

Anthony Watson will make his first start for Bath Rugby since October against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday in Round 13 of the Aviva Premiership, kick-off 19:45.

The England international marked his return from injury off the bench against Exeter Chiefs on New Year’s Eve and will start at full-back. The wings will once again be occupied by Aled Brew and Semesa Rokoduguni, the Club’s leading try scorer this season.

Jonathan Joseph and Ben Tapuai will continue their exciting partnership in the midfield, with George Ford and Darren Allinson forming a new partnership to orchestrate proceedings at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

In an unchanged front row for Bath’s first game of 2017, Tom Dunn will be supported either side by Max Lahiff and Nathan Catt, whose form was recently rewarded with a place in England’s 45-man EPS for the RBS 6 Nations.

The towering presence of Elliott Stooke and Luke Charteris make up a physical second row, while Tom Ellis and Francois Louw continue at blindside and openside flanker. Zach Mercer completes the starting line-up at number eight, with the 19-year-old facing the side that he made his Aviva Premiership debut against back in September where the Blue, Black and White’s triumphed 58-5. 

Hooker Jack Walker and centre Robbie Fruean could make their first team bow against the Falcons off the bench, while Chris Cook and Rhys Priestland make their return to the squad after injury.

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder said: "I think it's really important that we bounce back from the loss to Wasps and Exeter, so we've got to go to Newcastle and front up. This week's been about purpose and making sure we're ready physically and mentally. There's a lot riding on this for us. 

"It (Exeter) was probably the most complete performance apart from the end result. Not only did we defend really well, but we attacked with some real vigour ad showed some really encouraging signs. It's a bit of a bitter pill when you lose it, but it's all about getting back on the horse this week." 

Unavailable for selection: Dave Attwood, Nick Auterac, Matt Banahan, Ross Batty, Dan Bowden, Max Clark, David Denton, Charlie Ewels, Taulupe Faletau, Kahn Fotuali’i, Henry Thomas 


Bath Rugby team to face Newcastle Falcons

15. Anthony Watson

14. Semesa Rokoduguni

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Ben Tapuai

11. Aled Brew

10. George Ford (co-captain)  

9. Darren Allinson  

1. Nathan Catt

2. Tom Dunn

3. Max Lahiff

4. Elliott Stooke

5. Luke Charteris

6. Tom Ellis

7. Francois Louw

8. Zach Mercer


16. Jack Walker

17. Beno Obano

18. Shaun Knight

19. Matt Garvey (co-captain)  

20. Paul Grant

21. Chris Cook

22. Rhys Priestland

23. Robbie Fruean


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