- LV= Ambassador Lewis Moody previews Round 2
- “Bath v Exeter, that to me is the stand-out game of the weekend”
Photo: Pinnacle Photography
Former Bath flanker Lewis Moody believes the West Country side's quest for silverware will pick up pace this weekend – claiming their young charges will have a point to prove in the second round of the LV= Cup.
Bath got their LV= Cup campaign off the ground with a thrilling 27-20 victory away to Sale Sharks last weekend, thanks to Dave Attwood's last-gasp try.
Third in the Aviva Premiership at present, Bath made a number of changes for that match, handing the likes of winger Tom Biggs and youngsters Ollie Devoto, Richard Lane, Tom Heathcote, Nathan Catt and Will Skuse some rare game time.
On Sunday they host Exeter Chiefs, currently fourth in the Premiership and also off to a flyer in the LV= Cup, having downed defending champions Harlequins last time out.
But Moody believes that with home advantage and some hungry young tyros, Bath will come away with the bragging rights.
“Bath v Exeter, that to me is the standout game of the weekend,” he said. “Bath are on the back of a victory over Sale and Exeter are on the back of a win over Quins.
“They're both coming in with a win and at Bath, with a bit of Welsh Country rivalry, it'll be a tough old game.
“Exeter have got a consistent style of rugby and Bath are desperate for some silverware. But at Bath, at the Rec, you'd fancy Bath by ten points you'd like to think.
“They'll have confidence from their win at Sale and that will be massive at home. There are so many young guys, like Ollie Devoto in the backline, that haven't seen much game time.
“Guys like Tom Biggs haven't played too much rugby and then Ross Batty and Nathan Catt will take their opportunity to play their hand and show the coaches what they're capable of so I think Bath will take it by a good scoreline.”
Action-packed weekend of fixtures ahead
On Friday, the weekend's action kicks off with Harlequins hosting Sale in a repeat of last year's final while Worcester Warriors will be looking to build on their first win of the season last time out when they welcome Leicester Tigers to Sixways.
It's the all-Welsh affair that has caught Moody's eye, however, and the former England captain has urged the Ospreys to bounce back from their opening defeat to the Tigers when they host Cardiff Blues – claiming Steve Tandy's men are the side best equipped to take the trophy back over the Severn Bridge.
“This is a massive weekend for these teams if they want to get through to the knock-out stages with both losing their opening matches,” added Moody.
“I think Ospreys and Cardiff match up well, they'll be looking for their first win. They both have so much talent in their side and Ospreys are performing well and will be massively hungry for the win.
“I'd like to think the Ospreys will probably beat Cardiff by 15 – they will rely heavily on some of their key players, I've been impressed with Matthew Morgan especially.
“The likes of him and the other guys will be stepping up and I think they will do a good job on them.
“I really want to see us get back to the days when the Ospreys were really challenging. They were the first Welsh side to win this competition and there hasn't been a Welsh finalist since 2009.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Gloucester Rugby welcome Newcastle Falcons to Kingsholm, looking to put a heavy defeat to Northampton Saints behind them and London Wasps visit Newport Gwent Dragons.
And completing the weekend's action on Sunday, Saints travel to London Irish while the Scarlets visit Saracens.
Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup final at Sandy Park, Exeter on March 16. Tickets now available: www.ticketmaster.co.uk