Worcester shuffle their pack for Falcons

Back row ace Jake Abbott and prop Callum Black are awarded their first Guinness Premiership starts of the season as Worcester Warriors travel to face Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

Academy product Abbott is rewarded for a number of eye catching displays in recent weeks and will play at openside flanker as skipper Pat Sanderson moves to Number Eight.

Front row star Black will pack down with hooker Aleki Lutui and Tevita Taumoepeau, who has passed a fitness test to start the game in the north east.

“I was disappointed with the performance up front last week – the players are aware of that,” said Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock.

“Because of that I’ve made some changes to the forward pack with Callum and Jake rewarded for their good form with deserved starts against Newcastle.

“This is a very important game for us and we have a big focus on it,” added Ruddock. “Newcastle had a great win at Bath. They will have chests puffed out and they will be walking around happy with themselves and rightly so, to get a bonus point win away at Bath is a fantastic result.

“They will fancy their chances and will look to push the ball around and play some attractive rugby.

“What we need to do is be mindful of that, be really enthusiastic in our line press in defence, pressure them at all times and hit the tackle area. We need to force the mistakes from them that we saw them do against Bath.”

Lock Craig Gillies will also hit a milestone in the game as he makes his 150th Premiership appearance and Ruddock is full of praise for his high-flying second row.

“It is a great achievement for Craig to make 150 games in the top-flight,” he said. “He has been a great servant to Worcester Warriors and a consistent performer over a long period of time.

“But I’m sure Craig will be keen to celebrate his 150th Premiership game with a win so it becomes a doubly special day for him.”

Warriors vs Newcastle Falcons

15 Chris Latham, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Ryan Powell,1 Callum Black, 2 Aleki Lutui, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 5 Craig Gillies, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Jake Abbott, 8 Pat Sanderson (c)

Replacements: 16 Adam Black, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Will Bowley, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 George Crook, 23 Calum MacRae

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