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Clark and Faletau back for Bath Rugby

Faletau

Max Clark and Taulupe Faletau both make their return from injury tomorrow night as Bath Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action against their nearest rivals, Bristol Rugby at the Recreation Ground, kick-off 19.45.

Faletau, who was released by Wales to train with Bath and be available for selection this week, starts at number eight, with Guy Mercer on the openside and Tom Ellis on the blindside.

Elsewhere in the pack Elliott Stooke partners Matt Garvey in the engine room, with Nathan Catt and Kane Palma-Newport scrumming down in the front row either side of Ross Batty at hooker.

Clark returns to the midfield at outside centre, Matt Banahan linking up with him at number 12. Welsh duo Darren Allinson and Rhys Priestland, who is named as co-captain for the game, continue their half-back partnership, whilst Darren Atkins and Jack Wilson are named on the wings. Tom Homer completes the line-up from fullback.

From the bench, Tom Dunn could make his 50th appearance if called upon, and Australian centre, Ben Tapuai, who arrived at the Club this week, could make his debut.

Speaking ahead of the game, Todd Blackadder said: “We can’t wait to get out there on Friday, and it’s great to have Taulupe Faletau and Max Clark back amongst the mix – we’ve actually had a bit of a selection headache this week, which was an interesting change for us! We’ve got to pick ourselves back up after the disappointing start to the Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign and get back on the horse for this next block of crucial Aviva Premiership games. We know how much this game means to our supporters, and we’re going to do all we can to make sure they leave the Rec with a smile on their face tomorrow night.

“Henry Thomas is unavailable due to the knee injury he picked up against Scarlets. It seemed like a pretty innocuous bang at the time, but it looks like he’ll be out for the rest of the season. We’re really disappointed for him – he’d been playing some great rugby, but our medical team will do the best job in looking after him and getting him back on the pitch when he’s ready.”

Unavailable for selection: Dave Attwood, Nick Auterac, Luke Charteris, Chris Cook, David Denton, Charlie Ewels, George Ford, Kahn Fotuali’i, Jonathan Joseph, Francois Louw, Semesa Rokoduguni, David Sisi, Henry Thomas, Anrthony Watson, Jeff Williams.

Bath Rugby team to face Bristol Rugby

15. Tom Homer
14. Darren Atkins
13. Max Clark
12. Matt Banahan
11. Jack Wilson
10. Rhys Priestland (co-capt.)
9. Darren Allinson
1. Nathan Catt
2. Ross Batty
3. Kane Palma-Newport
4. Elliott Stooke
5. Matt Garvey (co-capt.)
6. Tom Ellis
7. Guy Mercer
8. Taulupe Faletau

Replacements:

16. Tom Dunn
17. Beno Obano
18. Max Lahiff
19. Paul Grant
20. Zach Mercer
21. Will Homer
22. Adam Hastings
23. Ben Tapuai

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