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Bath Rugby name strong side for European semi-final clash

Dave Attwood will make his comeback from injury as Bath Rugby face Stade Francais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Semi-Final at Stade Jean-Bouin on Sunday, kick-off 13:30 (local time).

Dave Attwood will make his comeback from injury as Bath Rugby face Stade Francais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Semi-Final at Stade Jean-Bouin on Sunday, kick-off 13:30 (local time).
 
Attwood, who has been sidelined for four months with a knee injury, takes his place in the second row alongside the returning Luke Charteris. The duo will provide support to Nathan Catt, Ross Batty and Kane Palma-Newport in the front row.
 
After being named in the British & Irish Lions squad this week, Taulupe Faletau will be determined to continue his rich vein of form from number eight, as the Welsh international is joined by Tom Ellis and co-captain Francois Louw in the back row.
 
In an unchanged back three, Anthony Watson starts at fullback, with the wings occupied by Semesa Rokoduguni and Matt Banahan. Jonathan Joseph and Ben Tapuai will look to control the game from the midfield, against a strong Stade Francais side, who have been twice runners-up in the competition.
 
Kahn Fotuali’i and George Ford continue their partnership in the half-back pairing, as the Blue, Black and White look to progress through to the final at Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Friday 12th May.
 
Amongst the replacements, Matt Garvey and Robbie Fruean could make their long-awaited return to action after their injury absences.
 
Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, said: “This is a huge opportunity for the Club to make it into a European final and we’ll be leaving no stone unturned to progress. It’s great to have Dave (Attwood), Robbie (Fruean) and Garvs (Matt Garvey) back in contention and I have no doubt that their experience will be crucial this weekend.   
 
“Stade Francais are a very physical side with world-class players across the park, so we will have to be at our very best to ensure we are on right side of the result on Sunday.”
 
Unavailable for selection: Nick Auterac, Harry Davies, Levi Douglas, Charlie Ewels, Tom Dunn, Rory Jennings, Max Lahiff, Henry Thomas, Michael van Vuuren, Jack Walker, Jeff Williams
 
Bath Rugby team to face Stade Francais
 
15. Anthony Watson
 
14. Semesa Rokoduguni
 
13. Jonathan Joseph
 
12. Ben Tapuai
 
11. Matt Banahan
 
10. George Ford (co-capt)
 
9. Kahn Fotuali’i
 
1. Nathan Catt
 
2. Ross Batty
 
3. Kane Palma-Newport
 
4. Luke Charteris  
 
5. Dave Attwood
 
6. Tom Ellis
 
7. Francois Louw (co-capt)
 
8. Taulupe Faletau
 
Replacements
 
16. Nathan Charles
 
17. Beno Obano
 
18. Shaun Knight
 
19. Elliott Stooke
 
20. Matt Garvey
 
21. Chris Cook
 
22. Rhys Priestland
 
23. Robbie Fruean
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