The University of Bath men’s 1st XV will be hoping that third time is the charm when they travel to Northumbria University tonight (Wednesday, 7pm) for a BUCS Rugby Championship quarter-final tie.
Northumbria finished second in the BUCS Super Rugby league table, only missing out on the title after a last-day defeat, but were made to battle by Bath in their two previous meetings this season.
Bath, sponsored by IKON Construction and supported by Investigo, led for long periods of the home encounter at the Sports Training Village before errors in the closing 15 minutes allowed the visitors to claim a 39-27 victory.
The return fixture last month was a cracking contest and saw Bath score five tries, only to be edged out 37-33 at Newcastle RFC’s Kingston Park ground.
Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, says his players can take belief from those performances as they look to reach the national semi-finals for a second successive season.
“It’s a quarter-final and we have a shot at getting through it,” he said. “There are no bonus points in knockout matches, we just need to win and given our last few matches against Northumbria then we have a chance.
“They are a hard team to face and score about 35 points per game on average, so we have to try to keep that down and score more than them.”
There are three changes to the Bath XV that started last week’s 58-15 home win over Cardiff University in the last 16. Harry Close starts on the wing following Will Hughes’ move to outside centre, Gus Antons comes in at tighthead prop and Chris Barry is at openside flanker.
University of Bath: 15 Will Partington, 14 Harry Close, 13 Will Hughes, 12 Craig Duncan, 11 Levi Davis, 10 Will Flinn, 9 Luca Petrozzi; 1 Jake Buckingham, 2 Tom Doughty, 3 Gus Antons, 4 Will Britton (c), 5 Scott Russell, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Chris Barry, 8 James Catlin. Replacements: 16 James Hadfield, 17 Arthur Cordwell, 18 Austin Hay, 19 Derryn Jones, 20 Alex Weighton, 21 Alex Burrage, 22, Alex Nisbet.