TOP BAR - Fixtures

Mercer to make first appearance of season for Bath Rugby

Luke Charteris, Guy Mercer and Rhys Priestland will all start for Bath Rugby tomorrow when they take on Pau in France in the first round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup, kick-off 20:45 (local time).

It will be the first appearance of the season for club captain Mercer, who takes his place on the openside flank.

Tom Ellis shifts to the blindside and Leroy Houston returns to the number eight shirt after winning his debut cap for Australia a week ago.

Charteris partners Elliott Stooke in the second row, as Nick Auterac and Kane Palma-Newport pack down either side of Tom Dunn at hooker.

Priestland is the only change amongst the backs, where he comes in to link-up with scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i.

Semesa Rokoduguni and Aled Brew continue out wide on the wings, and two-time man of the match Matt Banahan combines with Jonathan Joseph in the midfield. Tom Homer completes the line-up at fullback.

Director of Rugby Todd Blackadder said: “We’re really excited about the next couple of European games we have coming up – it’s a different competition, and that gives us chance to take a fresh look at things.

“We’ve not made too many changes, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for this guys who haven’t had as much game time as some to step up and start for us.

“It’s great to have the likes of Guy Mercer, Luke Charteris and Rhys Priestland back – all three are experienced players who will give us a new energy going into the game.”

Bath Rugby team to face Pau

15. Tom Homer

14. Semesa Rokoduguni

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Matt Banahan

11. Aled Brew

10. Rhys Priestland

9. Kahn Fotuali’i

1. Nick Auterac

2. Tom Dunn

3. Kane Palma-Newport

4. Luke Charteris

5. Elliott Stooke

6. Tom Ellis

7. Guy Mercer ( c )

8. Leroy Houston

Replacements

16. Michael van Vuuren

17. Max Lahiff

18. Shaun Knight

19. Charlie Ewels

20. Matt Garvey

21. Chris Cook

22. Dan Bowden

23. Jeff Williams

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