Worcester Warriors v London Irish Preview

Worcester Warriors are without a win in their last eight Guinness Premiership matches, since beating Sale 24-18 at Sixways on 26 September.


London Irish’s three match winning run came to a halt at Northampton on Saturday but the Exiles remain the Guinness Premiership’s best away team, having secured 17 league points from their six trips so far.


Worcester have not beaten London Irish in the Guinness Premiership since 11 September 2005 at Madejski Stadium.


Worcester’s Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock has made two changes to his starting line-up as he recalls Aleki Lutui and Sam Tuitupou.


Hooker Lutui comes in for Chris Fortey, who moves to the bench, and Tuitupou returns at inside centre after missing the tense derby day draw with Gloucester with a virus.


Two changes on the bench see prop Tevita Taumoepeau return after illness forced him to pull out of the Kingsholm clash last weekend.


Recent signing Chris Cracknell could also back his Worcester debut after being named among the replacements.


“It’s not too long ago that we played London Irish at the Madejski Stadium and we did pretty well on that occasion,” said Ruddock.


“We really asked questions of London Irish in most areas of the field and we will have to do that again at Sixways if we are to succeed in toppling one of the best teams in Europe at the moment.”


London Irish meanwhile will draw on the full resources of squad for the away fixture at Sixways Stadiumm.


The Exiles make five personnel and one positional change to the team that started against Northampton Saints last weekend. In the front row the former Springbok Faan Rautenbach comes in at tight head prop, and in the back row Richard Thorpe returns at blindside flanker with Jonathon Fisher replacing Steffon Armitage at openside as the England international is rested due to EPS requirements.


Among the backs Elvis Seveali’i and Ryan Lamb start at outside centre and fly half respectively with Tom Homer moving to the left wing. Peter Richards is named among the replacements following his recovery from injury.


“Despite the adverse weather conditions this week, we’ve been able to adapt our schedules and have trained well for tomorrow’s important visit to Worcester,” said London Irish Head Coach, Toby Booth.


“Whatever the competition, matches between the two clubs are usually very competitive and this one will be no different, especially as the Warriors always provide stiff opposition in front of their home supporters.


“Starting tomorrow, we face a series of matches that will impact on the outcome of our season. It will be important to establish winning momentum and we will be going all out to do so,” Booth concluded.


Supporters have been reminded that the clash has been moved forward to 2pm for safety reasons to allow supporters to leave the stadium complex in daylight following the big freeze this week.


Match Detail
Date: Sat 9th Jan 10 14:00
Venue : Sixways
Referee: Chris White (169th Premiership game)


Teams


Worcester Warriors


15 Chris Latham, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Jonny Arr,1 Adam Black, 2 Aleki Lutui, 3 Olivier Sourgens, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 5 Craig Gillies, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Pat Sanderson (c), 8 Kai Horstmann


Replacements, 16 Matt Mullan, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Tevita Taumoepeau, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Chris Cracknell, 21 Ryan Powell, 22 Matthew Jones, 23 Alex Grove


London Irish


15. Delon Armitage; 14. Peter Hewat; 13. Elvis Seveali’i; 12. Seilala Mapusua; 11. Tom Homer; 10. Ryan Lamb; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Clarke Dermody; 2. David Paice, 3. Faan Rautenbach; 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey (captain); 6. Richard Thorpe; 7. Jonathon Fisher; 8. Chris Hala’Uf

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