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Preview: Worcester Warriors v Bath

Preview: Worcester Warriors v Bath

Bath Rugby have not won a match since beating Worcester Warriors in December and skipper Stuart Hooper admits the rematch is a chance to get back to business.

Bath have lost their last six in all competitions going back to their 21-14 win at the Rec just after Christmas in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Currently sitting down in ninth in the league table, Bath have already lost more league games this season than they did in the entirety of the 2014/15 campaign. 

And while Worcester’s form is also a concern, Hooper is not taking them  lightly when they had to Sixways on Saturday.

“It’s another exciting game and a local derby for us. Worcester are a very good team with quality players throughout their squad,” he said.

“They’ve got a good blend of youth and experience – talented young players and then quality internationals such as Cooper Vuna and Donncha O’Callaghan.

“Tom Heathcote runs the show from fly-half and Ryan Lamb can do the same, so they’re a dangerous side.

“They are well-coached by Dean Ryan and will pose a real challenge this weekend.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to put things right but only in the sense that it’s the next game.

“Whether you think they’re unlucky not to have won more games, the form is there and the results are the reality.

“It’s about us going there and improving ourselves from last Friday against Gloucester.”

Worcester Warriors have lost their last 12 matches in all tournaments since beating La Rochelle at Sixways in the European Challenge Cup in November.

But flankers Dewald Potgieter and Carl Kirwan could make their league debuts at Sixways. South African Potgieter, who won six caps for the Springboks, only arrived this week on a deal until the end of next season.

Kirwan has played in six European Challenge Cup matches since joining Warriors in the summer but is yet to feature in the league.

Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan could shuffle his pack after their loss to London Irish last time out.
Ryan said: “I think it would be interesting timing to let him (Kirwan) loose this weekend.

“We haven’t made the decision yet but he’s somebody who could freshen things up a bit and has a different way of playing and is hungry.

“One thing we were missing last weekend was hunger so he’s certainly put himself in the picture.”

“Carl came from a system (at London Welsh) that wasn’t particularly organised and did a lot of things individually.

“It has taken him three or four months to get up to being in a system where he’s responsible for getting his job right and other people are responsible for getting their bits right.

“Potgieter is captain material and a class player who wants to get involved.

"He’s been a fantastic influence in a difficult week but with the maturity we knew he had, he has handled it perfectly.

“He was outstanding for the Blue Bulls and captained them in a period of success. He played for South Africa and then disappeared off the radar in Japan.

"He (Potgieter) can play across the back row. He won’t be lacking in willingness and I think his commitment to the cause is what separates him from everybody else.”

(Sixways, 3pm)
JP Doyle (105th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Andrew Pearce. TMO: Stuart Terheege.

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