Bristol vs Bath Prediction: Visitors to claim derby honours

 | January 26 | 

3 mins read

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Like France, the southwest quarter of England is arguably the country's hotbed of club rugby and local rivals Bristol and Bath are set to play out another barnstormer on Saturday.

The visitors won November's reverse game 20-19 and, unlikely as it is, could end the weekend sat on top of the table, should Harlequins lose to Leicester at the Stoop and Northampton somehow go down to a Newcastle team who, despite finally winning a European game last week, are still 0-11 domestically.

Bristol caused a shock in their last league game by ending Sale's fine run at the AJ Bell but then, typically, lost to both Bulls and Connacht in the Champions Cup and have won just two of their last six at home in all competitions.

Unlike Bristol, Bath still have European aspirations, with them set to face Exeter in the round of 16 and it is probably deserved after beating star-studded Racing 92 before going toe-to-toe with Toulouse, only to eventually fall to arguably the best side on the continent.

Their strong form this season has shorn them of a host of England internationals for Saturday's game. However, they still look strong and could grab another victory when they head 45 minutes up the A4 in the pair's final outing before the season takes a break for the Six Nations.

Bristol vs Bath Betting Tips:

Team News

Pat Lam makes five changes to his Bristol side, with homegrown pair Will Capon and James Dun starting in the forwards, while James Williams, Noah Heward and Rich Lane come in behind the scrum.

AJ MacGinty continues at fly-half and like opposite number Finn Russell, likes to attack the line, having made more carries (19) than any other player in the last round of the Premiership matches as his side won at former club Sale.

Ben Spencer, Beno Obano, Charlie Ewels, Max Ojomoh, Sam Underhill, Will Muir and Will Stuart are all unavailable for Bath due to their England commitments ahead of the Six Nations. Ollie Lawrence would also have been in that cohort but is sidelined through a hip injury that could see him miss the next couple of months.

Juan Schoeman, Tom Dunn, Elliott Stooke, GJ van Velze and Jaco Coetzee come into the pack, while Louis Schreuder partners Russell in the halves.

Will Butt and Cameron Redpath form a new-look centre partnership, and Tom de Glanville starts at full-back, with Matt Gallagher switching to the wing. Number eight, Alfie Barbeary, also sits out again through suspension.

Match Odds

Home side Bristol lead the match betting at 8/11, with Bath 11/10 and a tie 22/1.

Recent tussles between the pair have been tight and it is no surprise to see a skinny handicap of just -2 in Bristol's favour. The Bears are 10/11, with Bath's +2 available at 5/6.

Bath to win @ 11/10

It is telling that the handicap is unfamiliarly light and perhaps a reflection of their history, with their last three league clashes settled by two points or fewer.

Bath's single-point victory in November was arguably down to Bristol's Callum Sheedy missing two penalties either side of a successful effort from Russell.

Bristol have lost their last two home games, while Bath have a similar record on the road, albeit their recent defeats came at Leicester and Toulouse.

The Bears' showing against Bulls and Connacht betrayed their soft underbelly and despite their notable absentees, their neighbours can take advantage.

Since arriving in 2022, Johann van Graan has made a point of toughening up his side by recruiting big, burly ball carriers.

Even without Barbeary, that edge could be the difference on Saturday and Bath are a solid price to come out on top.

Bath to win vs Bristol @ 11-10You can read all our Rugby Union Betting Tips over at our dedicated Insights hub. 

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