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Bath announce team to face Tigers

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Guinness Premiership leaders Bath Rugby kick off 2009 with a trip to one of their fiercest rivals, Leicester Tigers, on Sunday.

Head coach Steve Meehan said: "I think we are getting better and there is time to keep on improving. Going up to Welford Road will focus the mind even greater than on any other away trip and hopefully we can continue with that rate of improvement.

"Welford Road is one of those places that you really look forward to as an away trip, because their supporters are so passionate about their team and when you put Bath Rugby supporters there too, it creates quite an atmosphere."

Scott Bemand starts at scrum-half against his former club and Peter Short, another one-time Tiger, is named in Bath's second row.

England international lock Danny Grewcock is sidelined after surgery on ligament and bone damage in a foot, while front rowers Lee Mears and Matt Stevens are rested under the terms of the Elite Player Squad agreement.

Bath Rugby (v Leicester Tigers, Welford Road, Sunday 1.30pm)
15 Nick Abendanon
14 Joe Maddock
13 Alex Crockett
12 Shontayne Hape
11 Andrew Higgins
10 Butch James
9 Scott Bemand
1 David Barnes
2 Pieter Dixon
3 Duncan Bell
4 Justin Harrison
5 Peter Short
6 Andy Beattie
7 Michael Lipman (captain)
8 Daniel Browne

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Aaron Jarvis
18 Stuart Hooper
19 Jonny Faamatuainu
20 Michael Claassens
21 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu
22 Jack Cuthbert