There is no love lost when Gloucester and Bath go head to head and the two West Country rivals will renew hostilities when they clash at Kingsholm on Friday night.
Bath are set to welcome Scotland and British & Irish Lions fly-half Finn Russell back into the side after he was a notable absentee from their 24-18 defeat at the hands of Northampton Saints last time out.
Gloucester started the season positively with back-to-back wins but recent defeats to Saracens and Sale Sharks have brought the Cherry & Whites back down to earth.
It’s set to be a fiery occasion under the lights at Kingsholm and a Russell-inspired Bath might just have enough to claim the bragging rights.
Gloucester’s World Cup contingent return for this important game, with Argentina internationals Mayco Vivas and Matias Alemanno back in the front and second row, along with Santi Carreras on the wing.
Club captain and England back-rower Lewis Ludlam is also back, as is winger Jonny May, who starts, while Wales flyer Louis Rees-Zammit will look to make an impact off the bench in the latter stages of the game.
Bath have their international stars back, too, with Russell at fly-half after his brief holiday following the World Cup, while England’s Ollie Lawrence returns to the backs at outside centre.
In the forwards, England duo of prop Will Stuart and flanker Sam Underhill will both be ready for the resumption of Premiership duties.
Gloucester are the slight underdogs going into Friday’s encounter at 11/10 to claim the win and the bragging rights on home soil.
Bath are 4/5 to secure the victory at Kingsholm, with a tie on the night available at 18/1.
Bath - 4 Handicap @ 6/5
Bath with Russell in the No.10 jersey will be a different animal from the side that were edged out by Northampton last time out.
The Scot will play flat and will looking to keep the Gloucester defence second-guessing with kicks in behind and offloads out of the tackle.
Gloucester do have Russell’s international team-mate Chris Harris in their backline but any inside information he might have on the Scotland No.10 might not go that far, due to Russell’s unpredictability with ball in hand.
Russell’s return, along with Lawrence at centre, will give more cutting edge to this Bath backline that will look to get at a Gloucester defence that has conceded 48 points in their last two games.
Bath have the quality in the backs and the returning physicality in the forwards with Stuart and Underhill to win on Friday night and fall on the right side of the handicap in a game that will decide the mood of Bath and Gloucester fans for the remainder of the weekend.
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