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Premiership Rugby

Falcons and Bath keep cards close to their chest

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Saturday's fixture is possibly the most important match in Bath's modern history, but Newcastle have at least named a 27-man squad, as a potential Zurich wildcard play-off place, and Heineken Cup qualification, beckons.

Absent through injury are hooker Steve Brotherstone (knee), wing Gareth Maclure (hamstring), lock Mark Andrews (ribs) and back rower Epi Taione (knee), while Scotland lock Stuart Grimes is suspended after being red-carded for head-butting against Gloucester last month.

Only a Bath win would see the West Country side in with a fighting chance of avoiding finishing bottom, while speculation perists of a merger with neighbours Bristol.

Bath (from):

Forwards: David Barnes, Andy Beattie, Steve Borthwick, Gareth Delve, Danny Grewcock, Jonathan Humphreys, Andy Long, Dan Lyle, John Mallett, James Scaysbrook, Matt Stevens, Gavin Thomas, Nathan Thomas.

Backs: Iain Balshaw, Olly Barkley, Ross Blake, Mike Catt, Gareth Cooper, Simon Danielli, Spencer Davey, Kevin Maggs, Chris Malone, Elvis Seveali'i, Mike Tindall, Tom Voyce.

Newcastle Falcons (from):

Forwards: James Isaacson, Ian Peel, Micky Ward, Richard Arnold, Marius Hurter, Nick Makin, Matt Thompson, Craig Hamilton, Jon Dunbar, Andrew Mower, Warren Britz, Craig Newby, Hugh Vyvyan, Phil Dowson.

Backs: James Grindal, Hall Charlton, Liam Botham, Dave Walder, Jonny Wilkinson, Phil Godman, Mark Mayerhofler, Jamie Noon, Tom May, Michael Stephenson, Joe Shaw, Mark Wilkinson, Dave Richarson.

Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT)


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