Taulupe Faletau

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper has made two changes to the side which delivered a momentum-building 38-10 win against London Irish last week, with Taulupe Faletau set to mark his return from injury to start against Sale Sharks.

The Wales international saw his World Cup dream wrecked by an ‘innocuous training ground incident’ resulting in a broken collarbone in the lead up to the tournament.

Faletau has been besieged by injury since his arrival at the Rec, breaking his arm on two separate occasions last winter and spending 22 weeks out with two knee injuries during his first season in the south-west following his arrival from the Dragons.

With that period behind him, the 76-Test forward has set to make his first Premiership appearance of the season and is joined in the Bath back row by Francois Louw, who will captain the hosts.

The inclusion of the Springboks flanker comes as Sam Underhill is rested, while no.8 Josh Bayliss drops to the bench.

Meanwhile, Sale boss Steve Diamond has made just one change to his starting XV this week, with Simon Hammersley the only omission from the side that beat Northampton Saints last weekend.

The full-back is replaced by Denny Solomona due to an injury sustained during the Round Six match. Solomona takes the 14 shirt for the trip to Bath with Chris Ashton moving to full-back as cover for the first time this season.


Bath v Sale Sharks (Saturday, 3pm kick-off)

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Will Chudley; 1 Beno Obano, 2 Tom Dunn, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Josh McInally, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Tom Ellis, 7 Francois Louw (capt), 8 Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Aled Brew

Sale Sharks: 15 Chris Ashton, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 3 WillGriff John, 4 Bryn Evans, 5 James Phillips, 6 Jono Ross (capt), 7 Tom Curry, 8 Daniel du Preez

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Will Cliff, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Marland Yarde

Bristol Bears v Wasps (Friday, 7.45pm kick-off)

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Toby Fricker, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren; 1 Jake Woolmore, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 John Afoa, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Chris Vui, 6 Steven Luatua (capt), 7 Jake Heenan, 8 Nathan Hughes

Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jordan Lay, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Sam Bedlow

Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Ben Harris, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Joe Launchbury (capt), 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 Jack Willis, 7 Thomas Young, 8 Nizaam Carr

Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Tom West, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Thibaud Flament, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Will Porter, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Juan de Jongh

Northampton Saints v Gloucester (Saturday, 2pm kick-off)

Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach; 1 Frans van Wyk, 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Ehren Painter, 4 Alex Moon, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 8 Teimana Harrison (capt)

Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 David Ribbans, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Andrew Symons, 23 Ahsee Tuala

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Louis Rees-Zammit, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (capt); 1 Josh Hohneck, 2 Franco Marais, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 8 Ben Morgan

Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Matt Banahan

Worcester Warriors v London Irish (Saturday, 3pm kick-off)

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom Howe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard; 1 Callum Black, 2 Matt Moulds (capt), 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Graham Kitchener, 7 Sam Lewis, 8 Cornell du Preez

Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 GJ Van Velze, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Jamie Shillcock

London Irish: 15 Alivereti Veitokani, 14 Belgium Tuatagaloa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nick Phipps; 1 Allan Dell, 2 Motu Matu’u, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Franco van der Merwe (capt), 5 Adam Coleman, 6 Matt Rogerson, 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Albert Tuisue

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 George Nott, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Bryce Campbell, 23 James Stokes

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers (Saturday, 4.30pm kick-off)

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Elia Elia, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Stephan Lewies, 5 Matt Symons, 6 James Chisholm, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 8 Tom Lawday

Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Alex Dombrandt, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Gabriel Ibitoye

Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Tomas Lavanini, 5 Calum Green, 6 Sam Lewis, 7 Jordan Taufua, 8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Tommy Reffell, 21 Ben White, 22 Noel Reid, 23 George Worth

Exeter Chiefs v Saracens (Sunday, 3pm kick-off)

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Dave Dennis (capt), 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Don Armand, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sam Hill

Saracens: 15 Max Malins, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (capt), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Will Skelton, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 7 Jackson Wray, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 George Kruis, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Nick Tompkins

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