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Preview: Bath Rugby v London Irish Preview: Bath Rugby v London Irish

Preview: Bath Rugby v London Irish

If the attacking talents of George Ford and Jonathan Joseph were not enough to worry about, London Irish back-row forward Tom Guest admits his side will be just as wary of Bath Rugby’s pack on Friday night.

The Exiles have been in sterling form in recent weeks, losing just one of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters and downing Sale Sharks in a 25-23 thriller last time out.

Yet Guest admits his side face an altogether tougher proposition in high-flying Bath at the Rec, with the West Country outfit only having lost once at home this season in Aviva Premiership Rugby, against Northampton Saints in February.

Recent history is also not on the visitors’ side, with Irish having not won at the Rec since November 2009 and only recording one victory in the last ten encounters between the sides.

But with the Exiles looking to finish a mixed campaign in style, Guest is confident his side will not be afraid to take on Bath on all fronts.

“Bath have got a big powerful pack, although they have big guys around the whole team too so it will be a tough game for us,” he said
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“We’ve performed very well recently so hopefully we can keep that up and pick up a win.

“They’ve got a lot of good players and a lot of threats – George Ford has skilful hands and the speed of Jonathan Joseph and out wide.

“So they’ve got plenty of different aspects to their game and can beat you in a few ways.

“But when we’re on the ball we can’t be afraid to use it and try to put them under pressure by putting together 80 minutes of good rugby.”

For the hosts, they will be looking to extend their winning streak against Irish to five games while keeping up the pressure on Saracens for a home semi-final.

And while Leroy Houston admits his side relish being able to beat teams with different approaches, the No.8 is guarded against an Exiles side with ability to spring a surprise.

 “Of course it won’t be easy as London Irish are one of those teams that can come up out of nowhere and dominate a game,” he said.

“They can kind of have a hot or cold game but they are in form and no doubt we are wary of what they are able to bring.

“Being able to beat teams in various ways it what makes us a good side as we can draw from the forwards and the backs.

“It also depends on the weather so if it rains we look to the pack to drive things or if it’s dry then the backs can express themselves.”

(Recreation Ground, 7.45pm)
Referee: Luke Pearce (38th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Kelvin Stewart. TMO: Graham Hughes.
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