Bath desperate to bounce back
November 18, 2011
Fulgence Ouedraogo's try was not enough to earn Montpellier victory against Leinster © Getty Images
Both Bath and Montpellier will be out to put their opening-round disappointment behind them when they square off at the Recreation Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Bath turned in a surprisingly poor performance against Glasgow at Firhill last weekend but still looked set to nick a valuable when thanks to their newly-arrived All Blacks hero Stephen Donald, who landed a 78th-minute penalty to put his new club two points to the good. However, Richie Gray's injury-time touchdown saw the hosts record a dramatic 26-21 victory, leaving Bath disconsolate.
However, they simply cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves if they are to kickstart their campaign this weekend. The same, of course, goes for Montpellier, the tournament newcomers who were only denied a famous victory over defending champions Leinster by a last-minute penalty from Jonathan Sexton. Last season's surprise package in the Top 14 showed enough in the first 60 minutes of their Heineken Cup debut to suggest that they have the forward power to ask a number of questions of the Bath pack. We should be in for a truly brutal battle up front.
Bath - Player to Watch: Lewis Moody is back in the side after the disappointing World Cup and the former England skipper will aim to prove to Bath supporters that he has the fitness and drive to play a whole season in the blue, black and white of Bath.
Bath - Team News: Lewis Moody starts at openside with Stephen Donald getting the nod at fly-half in his first start for Bath. Olly Barkley takes his spot on the bench for the first time this season after breaking his leg last year.
Montpellier - Player to Watch: Lucas Amorosino shone during the World Cup for the Pumas and with both teams aiming to throw the ball around on Sunday, expect him to pose Bath's back three some problems.
Montpellier - Team News: Lucas Amorosino starts at fullback with Martin Bustos Moyano and J-B Peyras Loustalet taking the wing berths. Geoffrey Doumayrou and Paul Bosch take the centre spots while Francois Trinh-Duc and Julien Tomas line-up at half-back. Mamuka Gorgodze, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Rémy Martin start in the back-row with Thibaut Privat and Joe Tuineau getting the nod in the second-row. Maximiliano Bustos, Agustin Creevy and Mikheil Nariashvili form the front-row.
Key Battle: All eyes will be on the battle of the World Cup final fly-halves. Trinh-Duc and Donald were both replacements in the clash between the All Blacks and France but the pair shone when they were given the opportunity with Donald kicking the decisive penalty.
Trivia: These two sides have met twice before in European competition, with Bath triumphing on both occasions
Stats: Bath have won 11 of their 18 clashes with French opposition
"I just want to play good footie and get Bath back to the glory days they so passionately crave"
"We know the overall quality of their squad and that by taking part in the Heineken Cup we would face the best teams in Europe so with Leinster last Saturday and then Bath to follow, we are certainly doing just that from the very start."
Prediction: Bath will bounce back from their last-minute loss to Glasgow with a commanding win
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