Worcester hooker joins Premiership’s ‘200 Club’

Hooker Chris Fortey is set to join the exclusive ‘200 Club’ in the Guinness Premiership when Worcester Warriors entertain table topping Saracens at Sixways Stadium on Friday evening (kick-off 8pm).


Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock has selected the same starting line-up that drew 12-12 on home soil with Bath Rugby just seven days earlier as he looks for Worcester Warriors to secure a third home win of the campaign.


Fortey is named among the replacements and if he plays a part in the encounter will hit the magical 200 game mark in the English top-flight and move to fifth in the all-time league standings for games played.


“Chris is about to hit the 200 Club in the Guinness Premiership and this is yet another example of the durability, professionalism and skill of this Warrior over an extended period,” said Ruddock.


The only change to the 23-man squad comes on the bench where back row James Collins replaces Jake Abbott, currently away on England Sevens duty in Dubai.


Ahead of the game, Ruddock has admitted ‘it doesn’t get much bigger than this’ as his team face the undefeated league leaders.


However, he insists the excitement in the Sixways squad could not be any greater as Warriors prepare to challenge that proud record.


“It would have been good to get four points last week and we felt on balance we just deserved to edge it against Bath. Ultimately it’s gone now, it’s our fault we didn’t nail it down,” he said.


“Now we have got to learn from that and face a really big challenge against Saracens.


“They are undefeated and very difficult to break down. They are not only top of the league but they have also beaten the world champions, South Africa, so it doesn’t get much bigger than this.


“But it’s a game we are all quite excited about and can’t wait for the game to come around.”


Ruddock admits Saracens have fast become the experts of putting pressure on teams to make mistakes and fully expects his side to face a big examination under the Sixways floodlights.


“They are the masters of putting the ball in the corners and squeezing you until you give away points or field position. It will be a tough day for our back three, they will see plenty of the ball,” he said.


“But I’m encouraging my backs to run the ball, especially off first phase because that is the time when most of the forwards are in one huddle, be it a scrum or lineout.


“The only person that will be missing for us is Jake Abbott who is away with England Sevens, which is great news for us and great news for him,” added Ruddock.


“He is another one of our Academy prospects that has achieved international honours. It’s fantastic news so close to Alex Grove, who is set for his third cap for Scotland against Argentina this weekend.”


Worcester Warriors vs Saracens


15 Chris Latham, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 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 Pat Sanderson (c), 8 Kai Horstmann


Replacements, 16 Adam Black, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Olivier Sourgens, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 James Collins, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Calum MacRae, 23 Rico Gear

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