Premiership: Bath v Gloucester fan pilot canceled

England international Anthony Watson is back to add pace and punch to Bath’s back line

Bath’s Premiership game with Gloucester on Tuesday (17:30 BST) will go ahead behind closed doors at the Rec.

It had been hoped that up to 1,000 people would be present as part of the pilot scheme for the safe return of spectators to sporting events.

However, a rise in coronavirus cases in the UK has led to the government putting those plans on hold.

“We are deeply sorry to share this news,” Tarquin McDonald, chief executive of Bath, said.

“This [Tuesday] morning, our understanding was that our fixture was still able to go ahead and having put all of the safety measures in place, we were excited to be welcoming supporters back to The Rec.

“I would like to take this moment to thank all of our Blue, Black and White faithful, I know how disappointing this news will be for all of you. Public safety has to be our top priority and we will do everything we can to make sure that we can all return to the Rec safely once again in the future.”

Bath are bolstered by plenty of returning strike runners out wide, with Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni and Joe Cokanasiga all in the squad.

Gloucester have scrum-half Willi Heinz available after injury, and lock Matias Alemanno makes his first start.

There are also a few reunions in this fixture, with Bath’s Elliott Stooke up against his old club, while Gloucester have former Blue, Black and Whites skipper Matt Garvey and wing Matt Banahan in their line-up.

The home side have put themselves in a great position for the play-offs with their post-restart form, winning six of seven under club favourite Stuart Hooper’s guidance to sit third in the Premiership.

Their Cherry and White rivals are targeting a top-half finish and the lure of Champions Cup rugby union next season, with just five points between them and Harlequins in sixth.

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Matavesi, McConnochie; Priestland, Spencer; Obano, Dunn, Stuart, Stooke, Ewels (capt), Ellis, Underhill, Faletau.

Replacements: Walker, Boyce, Judge, McNally, Reid, Chudley, Redpath, Cokanasiga.

Gloucester: Banahan; Thorley, Harris, Twelvetrees, May; Evans, Heinz; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Garvey, Alemanno, Polledri, Ludlow (capt), Ackermann.

Replacements: Walker, Fourie, Stanley, Slater, Reid, Simpson, Seabrook, Rees-Zammit.

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