Amlin Challenge Cup preview: Bath host Brive at The Recreation Ground
Last Updated: 05/04/14 12:15pm
Bath welcome Top 14 side Brive to The Recreation Ground on Sunday with a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals at stake.
Both sides come into the last eight with their unbeaten records intact, but one must surrender Sunday as European rugby enters the knockout stages.
Bath won all six of their Pool 2 matches against Bordeaux-Begles, Dragons and Mogliano Rugby; while a 20-20 draw with Calvisano was the lone stutter in Brive's group-stage campaign.
Sunday's hosts amassed the highest points tally of any side in the pools, clinching four bonus-point wins, while Brive only crossed the four-try threshold once.
Three wins in their last five Premiership outings has kept Bath in play-off contention, while the same form for Brive has left them languishing in ninth in the French top flight.
Bath have handed the club captain's armband to second-row Dave Attwood for their Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final.
Attwood is partnered by Dominic Day in the engine room, as Carl Fearns starts at number eight alongside Matt Garvey and Guy Mercer in their back-row.
Loosehead prop Nathan Catt, last week's centurion, and tighthead Anthony Perenise are named on either side of Ross Batty at hooker.
Micky Young resumes his half-back partnership with George Ford, whilst there is a new midfield partnership of Gavin Henson and Matt Banahan.
Semesa Rokoduguni and Horacio Agulla provide the pace and power out wide on the wings, with Nick Abendanon continuing in the full-back jersey.
Brive meanwhile have made wholesale changes to the team that stunned Clermont in the Top 14 last week, with only second-row Julien Le Devedec keeping his place in the starting line-up.
There is no Gaetan Germain, Guillaume Namy, Arnaud Mignardi, Riaan Swanepoel, Sisaro Koyamaibole or Kevin Buys as Bath face a new-look side.
Bath: 15 Abendanon, 14 Agulla, 13 Banahan, 12 Henson, 11 Rokoduguni, 10 Ford, 9 Young; 1 Catt, 2 Batty, 3 Perenise, 4 Day, 5 Attwood (capt), 6 Garvey, 7 Mercer, 8 Fearns
Replacements: 16 Dunn, 17 James, 18 Wilson, 19 Hooper, 20 Houston, 21 Roberts, 22 Eastmond, 23 Watson.
Brive: 15 Ferreres, 14 Voretamaya, 13 Delage, 12 Laranjeira, 11 Galala, 10 Sola, 9 Sanchou (capt); 1 Lavergne, 2 Acosta, 3 Coetzee, 4 Le Devedec, 5 Pinet, 6 Naikatini, 7 Laurent, 8 Murphy
Replacements: 16 Shvelidze, 17 Leupolu, 18 Tuncer, 19 Lebas, 20 Briatte, 21 Kusiolek, 22 Mailei, 23 Neisen.
Watch Bath v Brive live on Sunday from 1:30pm on Sky Sports 3HD.
Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals 2014
Director of rugby Nigel Davies described Gloucester's first-half performance as "totally unacceptable" against Wasps.
Wasps secured the final place in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals after a comfortable 36-24 win over Gloucester.
Mike Ford praised Gavin Henson after Bath beat Brive 39-7 to progress to the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals.