Bath Rugby welcome back Matt Banahan, David Wilson and Lewis Moody to the match-day 23 for the sold out Aviva Premiership Rugby match against Northampton Saints at the Recreation Ground tomorrow, kick-off 3.00pm. Having been released by England, Banahan comes into the starting line-up, with Wilson lining up on the bench. Moody also takes a place on the bench for his first game since being injured in the Heineken Cup victory over Aironi Rugby in January.

Nick Abendanon, fresh from his try scoring appearance on the wing last Friday against Sale Sharks, returns to full back, with Tom Biggs joining Banahan on the wing. Matt Carraro and Olly Barkley once again link up in the centres, and Butch James and Michael Claassens continue their half back partnership.

Up front, David Flatman, Lee Mears and Duncan Bell provide power in the front row, with Stuart Hooper and Danny Grewcock supporting from the second row. Ben Skirving, Luke Watson and Simon Taylor complete the scrum.

Head Coach, Steve Meehan, reflects on last weekend’s victory away to Sale Sharks, Bath’s third on the bounce in the Premiership, and ahead to the challenge posed by Northampton.

“We were delighted with the result. We have won the last two of our three Premiership games on the road, which is very pleasing, and we are starting to play with the ability and confidence we know we have, so if we can continue that it will be good.

“We put in a very professional performance and put a lot of pressure on the opposition, taking our opportunities and penalties when they came. Michael Claassens, Butch James and Olly Barkley all kicked well out of hand, and we had a strong defensive line that followed off the back of a decent line out and very strong scrum – all in all it was a very good team performance in difficult conditions.

“This game against Saints is a very big game for us. We were disappointed with the performance earlier in the season at Franklin’s Gardens, so we have been looking forward to this fixture. They have been playing well for the last couple of seasons, so can’t be underestimated. It’s not going to be easy but it’s certainly a challenge we’re looking forward to.”

“We are confident we can replicate last year’s success. There’s not been any sign of panic, everyone’s very calm and composed, and I think the experience was good for us. If we can keep everyone enjoying training, motivated and fit, we’ll be in with a good shout every week.”

Bath Rugby team to play Northampton Saints

15. Nick Abendanon

14. Matt Banahan

13. Matt Carraro

12. Olly Barkley

11. Tom Biggs

10. Butch James

9. Michael Claassens

1. David Flatman

2. Lee Mears

3. Duncan Bell

4. Stuart Hooper

5. Danny Grewcock

6. Ben Skirving

7. Luke Watson (c)

8. Simon Taylor


16. Pieter Dixon

17. David Barnes

18. David Wilson

19. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe

20. Lewis Moody

21. Mark McMillan

22. Sam Vesty

23. Jack Cuthbert