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Preview: London Wasps v Bath Rugby

Preview: London Wasps v Bath Rugby

London Wasps centre Chris Bell is hoping to make a more lasting impression on proceedings when his side host Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday, after being forced off prematurely in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Bell was making his long-awaited comeback from an Achilles injury, which had kept him out since November 2011, when Wasps made the trip to the Recreation Ground for the second Premiership fixture of the season.

But just 20 minutes in he was forced from the action after suffering a cut to his head, and as his team slipped to a 30-23 defeat, Bell was sat in A&E at a Bath hospital receiving treatment.

The incident means his memory of the last meeting between the sides is rather distant, but the former Sale Sharks playmaker is striving for a better afternoon for Wasps at Adams Park.

“It is great to be back at Adams Park because we have a good record there this season and we want to keep that going against Bath,” said the 29-year-old.

“The game at Bath earlier in the season I managed to cut my head 20 minutes in and I remember being sat in A&E for five hours while they stitched my head together, so I don’t have plenty of memories of the game.

“I know we got a losing bonus point in the last minute which shows how close and how tough the match was.

“Bath are an historic team with a lot of history in the Aviva Premiership and it will be a difficult game for us.

“We are sitting in fifth position which is pleasing but we need to keep working and improving.

“What we know is that every game is a challenge and every team poses a threat so we have to keep on improving.

“Who knows where the season can go for us. We are 12 games in with 10 left in the Premiership. We are also still in Europe so we just need to keep on going and keep winning matches.”

Following this encounter, which is live on Sky Sports, Wasps are without an Aviva Premiership fixture for a month, with Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup ties packing out their January schedule.

It makes it all the more important for the fifth-placed outfit to pick up some points against Bath, according to Bell.

“Having an extended break from league competition means we will be unable to alter our league position so we want to be as high as possible after the Bath game,” he said.

“For the last three weeks it has been mainly Aviva Premiership rugby with an opportunity to right any wrongs each week but we won’t get that after Bath.”

Bath prop Paul James is equally aware of the importance of the fixture.

He believes Bath’s top-four hopes may rest on victory at Adams Park, after a 12-12 draw at Exeter Chiefs left them in eighth place.

“Wasps is a massive game for us if we want to maintain any realistic top four ambitions,” he said.

“We can take confidence from the Exeter game but there are still areas we need to improve on and Wasps are playing really well, especially at home.

“They are going to be well up for the clash but hopefully we can go there and get a result. It will definitely be tough but we know that if we can slow them down then we have a chance.”

Referee: Andrew Small (82nd Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart, Nigel Carrick. TMO: David Grashoff.

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