Bath v London Irish: Teams
At the Rec, Saturday September 11, kick-off 2.15pm
Last Updated: 10/09/10 2:31pm
Barkley: Starting berth
Olly Barkley will make his first start of the Aviva Premiership season when Bath tackle London Irish at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.
Barkley was a late withdrawal for the West Country outfit in their opening victory over Leeds Carnegie, but takes his place at number 12.
England international Matt Banahan has subsequently reverted to the wing while Tom Biggs provides back-line cover.
And, after both sides recorded five-point wins not even a week ago, coach Steve Meehan knows that the home side can expect a tough contest.
"London Irish proved themselves a very good side on the weekend. They've got some very good individual players and pose threats all across the pitch," he said.
"We are not expecting the best conditions and that will pose problems for both sides. With the conditions we expect, a lot will be determined by who handles them the best.
"The last four premiership matches between us and Irish have gone with the away team, which is certainly a trend we wouldn't mind stopping this weekend! They will be very difficult to break down, but there are some opportunities and we just have to be accurate and patient."
Meanwhile, the Exiles have named an unchanged squad of 23 after the team beat Saracens 33-16 in emphatic style last weeekend.
The try-scoring back-three of Sailosi Tagicakibau, Delon Armitage and Topsy Ojo all start, while Ryan Lamb will be looking for a repeat of his visit to the Recreation Ground last season when he scored all the points in a 16-0 victory.
No fewer than five current or past academy players make up a strong Irish bench that also includes the international duo of Nick Kennedy and Seilala Mapusua.
Speaking about his side's trip to the Rec, Booth said: "Everyone is delighted with the manner of our victory over Saracens, but it is a long season and we are expecting a challenging match this weekend.
"Both teams like to get their hands on the ball and play positive rugby and I am sure that will make for an entertaining afternoon for both sets of supporters."
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Shontayne Hape, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Sam Vesty, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Luke Watson (capt), 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Simon Taylor, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Duncan Bell, 19Ben Skirving, 20 Andy Beattie, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Biggs, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Daniel Bowden, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 George Stowers, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Bob Casey, 4 Kieran Roche, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Clarke Dermody (capt).
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Alex Corbisiero, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Seilala Mapusua, 22 Jonathon Joseph, 23 Chris Malone.