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Just one Bath change as they look to reach a first final since 2015

By Liam Heagney
Bath's Alfie Barbeary (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Johann van Graan has made just a single change to his starting Bath XV for this Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership semi-final at home to Sale, promoting Alfie Barbeary from the bench to start at No8 with Josh Bayliss dropping to the replacements.

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Bath blew away an understrength Northampton 43-12 in their last outing on May 18 to clinch second place on the table and secure a knockout-stage fixture at The Rec.

Now looking to reach a first Premiership final since 2015, their South African boss has opted to keep the faith by selecting that entire match day 23 again, the only change being the upgrade given to Barbeary.

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The selection, which has Miles Reid named as the 23rd man, means Bath will go into the tie with a six/two forwards/backs split on their bench, a tactic that is the same as Sale who have confirmed the comeback-making Tom Curry as their 23rd man for the semi-final.

Bath (vs Sale, Saturday): 15. Matt Gallagher; 14. Joe Cokanasiga, 13. Ollie Lawrence, 12. Cameron Redpath, 11. Will Muir; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Beno Obano, 2. Tom Dunn, 3. Thomas du Toit, 4. Quinn Roux, 5. Charlie Ewels, 6. Ted Hill, 7. Sam Underhill, 8. Alfie Barbeary. Reps: 16 Niall Annett, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Will Stuart, 19. Elliott Stooke, 20. Josh Bayliss, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Orlando Bailey, 23. Miles Reid.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Bath
31 - 23
Full-time
Sale
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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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