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RUGBY: Henson to start against Tigers
12:07pm Friday 13th September 2013 in Sport
GAVIN Henson will make his full league debut for Bath Rugby in tomorrow's centenary match against champions Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership (3.15pm).
The Wales and British Lions centre featured as a subsitute for the injured Kyle Eastmond in last Friday's 21-0 opening-night victory at Newcastle and also played 40 minutes in Bath United's victory over Wasps A on Monday.
Eastmond, who suffered a knee knock against the Falcons, has not made the matchday squad for Bath's first home game of the season, Henson partnering summer signing Jonathan Joseph in the midfield, in one of two changes from last week's team.
In the forwards, Guy Mercer comes in for Mat Gilbert on the openside flank, in a back-row containing new signings Matt Garvey on the blindside and Leroy Houston at number eight.
Stuart Hooper and Dave Attwood continue in the second row, with the international front row of Paul James, Rob Webber and David Wilson also starting again.
In the half-backs, fly-half George Ford, who left Leicester to join Bath in the summer, joins scrum-half Peter Stringer in the half-backs, Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni the wingers, while youngster Anthony Watson continues at full-back.
Tomorrow’s game will mark 100 years (and a day) since the first game between two of the biggest rivals in English rugby, Leicester taking the spoils at Welford Road on September 13, 1913.
Leicester have included Steve Mafi, Ed Slater and Scott Hamilton in their starting line-up.
Mafi comes in following the season-ending injury to England and Britis & Irish Lions flanker Tom Croft, Slater moving into the second row and Hamilton on the wing.
Tigers also include Premiership debutant Sebastian de Chaves at second row, the team being captained by Anthony Allen.
Former Marlborough College captain and back row Jamie Gibson, who joined from from London Irish in the summer, is among the replacements, but England fly-half Toby Flood is still recovering from concussion and unable to take his place for a face-off against former protege Ford..
Bath: 15. Anthony Watson, 14. Semesa Rokoduguni, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Gavin Henson, 11. Matt Banahan, 10. George Ford, 9. Peter Stringer, 1. Paul James, 2. Rob Webber, 3. David Wilson, 4. Stuart Hooper (capt), 5. Dave Attwood, 6. Matt Garvey, 7. Guy Mercer, 8. Leroy Houston.
Replacements: 16. Ross Batty, 17. Nathan Catt, 18. Anthony Perenise, 19. Dominic Day, 20. Alafoti Fa’osiliva, 21. Micky Young, 22. Tom Heathcote, 23. Tom Biggs.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen (capt), 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Dave Mélé, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Ed Slater, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Steve Mafi, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Jordan Crane.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Jamie Gibson, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Dan Bowden.
A WEB EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF TOMORROW'S MATCH WITH LOCK DOMINIC DAY, PLUS REPORT & REACTION FROM TOMORROW'S MATCH AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS, INCLUDING PREVIEWS WITH WEBBER, COACH MIKE FORD AND EX-BATH AND LEICESTER STAR LEWIS MOODY IN THE WILTSHIRE TIMES, OUT TODAY
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