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Preview: Bath v Northampton Saints

Preview: Bath v Northampton Saints

Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints find themselves in an unfamiliar predicament down in the bottom half of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, but Ethan Waller expects both sides to show their quality this weekend.

With five Aviva Premiership Rugby games played, last year’s finalists Bath and 2013/14 winners Northampton find themselves with just two victories each so far.

However Saints can point to their recent form – three victories from three in all competitions – as a sign that they are on the rise.

History suggests Bath face an uphill task too, with Northampton having won their last Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters over the West Country side, but Saints prop Waller needs no reminding of their quality.

“It’s a huge test playing against Bath and we’ve spent a lot of time preparing for what we’re going to face," he said.

“Their pack is doing really well so we know we’re going to have to be strong up front.

“But then you look at the talent in their backs and we’re going to have to be very careful about that when they get the ball.

“When you have players like Niko Matawalu and George Ford, you always have to be switched on in defence so we need to make sure we are always alert.

“It should be a great game and we really want to get another win under our belts. We didn’t start the season as we would have liked, everyone admits that, but we do feel things are improving.

“There can’t be any complacency though and there’s not much chance of that with a game against Bath.”

If you carve up the record books a different way Bath have a reason to be positive – they have not lost back-to-back league games at the Rec since March 2014.

Their last loss at home came on Halloween against Harlequins, and loosehead Nathan Catt admits his side must dig deep to avoid another fright night.

“They’re a very good team, Northampton are a big force,” he said. “They’ve not only got a big pack to start with and some really dangerous runners – it’s going to be a battle in the scrum, lineout, everywhere.

“Kieran Brookes is the front man of their scrum and Victor Matfield will be their lineout operator, you’ve got two great players and that’s where the battle will be won and lost.

“I think we made a lot of mistakes (in last week’s defeat to Wasps) that we wouldn’t usually make and that’s maybe down to a few factors on the day.

“There are control areas that should not have been affected, we have got to take a bit of blame for that but it’s one we have to put behind us.”

(Recreation Ground, 3.15pm)

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (8th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff & Robin Goodliffe. TMO: Graham Hughes.

Live on BT Sport

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