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Team News ahead of Zurich Premiership Final

28 May 2004

John Connolly has named the Bath Rugby side to take on London Wasps in the Zurich Premiership Final at Twickenham on Saturday (6 pm).

The club has been boosted by the news that England internationals Matt Perry and Mike Tindall, who have both been sidelined with hamstring injuries, and prop Matt Stevens who had a knee infection, have all won the race to be fit for the big game.

In the pack former Wales captain Jonathan Humphreys will lead the side whilst David Barnes, fresh from his call up to the England Churchill Cup squad will start in the front row in the absence of David Flatman (Achilles).

In the backs Alex Crockett is preferred to Wylie Human on the wing, whilst Chris Malone retains the number ten jersey.

England fly half Olly Barkley returns to the squad on the bench, where he should be joined by Mike Catt who will be playing for the final time in Bath Rugby colours. Head Coach Connolly is waiting on the fitness of Catt, who suffered a slight calf strain against Newbury last week. A decision is likely to be made tomorrow.

Looking ahead to the game, Connolly believes that Wasps do deserve the tag of favourites having won at HQ last weekend in a thrilling Heineken Cup final against Toulouse. However, the Australian also believes that his side have the self belief and ability to get the job done on the day.

"There is no doubt that this is Wasps' time," said the Head Coach today. "They are the reigning Zurich Premiership and Heineken Cup champions, so they will be a fair challenge for us on Saturday. However, you will not be finding this Bath Rugby side short of desire, belief and ability."

"We are fully prepared for the match," said Connolly. "The preparation has been good and we have trained hard over the last couple of weeks and the players are all extremely motivated. It will also be great to see what will be a massive Bath Rugby support cheering us on every inch of the way."

With nearly 13,000 tickets sold through the Bath Rugby ticket office alone somewhere in the region of 20,000 Bath Rugby fans are expected to make the trip up to Twickenham on Saturday.

15 Matt Perry
14 Andrew Higgins
13 Robbie Fleck
12 Mike Tindall
11 Alex Crockett
10 Chris Malone
9 Martyn Wood
1 David Barnes
2 Jonathan Humphreys (captain)
3 Duncan Bell
4 Steve Borthwick
5 Danny Grewcock
6 Andy Beattie
7 Michael Lipman
8 Zak Feaunati

16 Hentie Martens
17 Lee Mears
18 Matt Stevens
19 Olly Barkley
20 Mike Catt or Spencer Davey
21 James Scaysbrook
22 Rob Fidler

London Wasps' Team News
London Wasps' Director of Rugby, Warren Gatland, has named his side for this Saturday's Zurich Premiership Final against Bath, at Twickenham, kick-off 6pm. For the third match in a row, the side has remained unchanged.

After winning the Heineken Cup last Sunday; the side has enjoyed a considerable amount of time off this week. Last night the Wasps' End of Season Awards Dinner was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. The ceremony saw several awards handed out including the Players' Player of the season, which was won by Mark Van Gisbergen.

The side is fully fit with no injuries and, therefore, remains unchanged.

Gatland said, "Winning the Heineken Cup has given us the momentum to go into this game confident and battle hardened. We were fortunate enough to escape without any injuries and so I have named the same side for the third week running.

"There is no point in being European Champions and not being champions of your country. Therefore we are desperate to retain our title. Bath have enjoyed a remarkable season under John Connolly and will prove a stern test for us. This season honours are even between the clubs so both sides are evenly matched. It's a winner takes all showdown."I've heard there are still tickets left, so I'm urging fans to come down and support the clubs. Twickenham is a great venue and finals are always a great day out".

The team is �

15 Mark Van Gisbergen
14 Josh Lewsey
13 Fraser Waters
12 Stuart Abbott
11 Tom Voyce
10 Alex King
9 Rob Howley
1 Tim Payne
2 Trevor Leota
3 Will Green
4 Simon Shaw
5 Richard Birkett
6 Joe Worsley
7 Paul Volley
8 Lawrence Dallaglio (Capt)

16 Henry Nwume
17 Mark Lock
18 Ben Gotting
19 Martin Purdy
20 Peter Richards
21 Mark Denney
22 Ayoola Erinle

List of Award winners:

Players' player of the season: Mark Van Gisbergen
Young player of the season: Tom Voyce
Community player of the season: Trevor Leota
Try of the season: Trevor Leota, Munster in Heineken Cup
Supporters' player of the season: Mark Van Gisbergen
Honours ties: Peter Scrivener and Craig Dowd
Club person of the year: Mark Bitcon (Fitness team)
Outstanding contribution to rugby award: Rob Howley