Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers Preview

Worcester Warriors host Gloucester Rugby at Sixways Stadium

Leicester Tigers have won eight of their last nine matches against Worcester, including a 19-14 win at Leicester in round five.


Worcester Warriors’ only victory in their last dozen matches in the Guinness Premiership was 13-0 at home to Newcastle on 26 February. The Warriors have won their last three games at Sixways in all competitions.


Leicester Tigers top the Guinness Premiership and have suffered just one reversal in their last seven matches in the competition: 3-19 at Northampton on 27 February.


The Tigers have won only one of their last four away encounters in all competitions: 14-9 at Leeds in the Premiership on 14 February.


The Warriors are in fact the only opposing side to gain a league point at Welford Road in the Premiership this season.


Worcester Warriors points machine Willie Walker will make his comeback in this crunch clash.


Fly half Walker – the top scorer in the Guinness Premiership with 145 points – missed the last away game at Harlequins through injury, but has been declared fit to take his place in the massive league encounter.


Worcester Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock makes a total of four changes to the side that narrowly lost in London last time out.


Sam Tuitupou (back) is ruled out of the game and so Scotland international Alex Grove will line up alongside Dale Rasmussen in the centre.


Prop Adam Black and hooker Aleki Lutui are recalled in the front row to play alongside powerhouse prop Tevita Taumoepeau. England international Matt Mullan (shoulder) is unavailable for selection.


Warriors Academy front row products Callum Black and Jordan Page are both named on the bench with Chris Fortey (back) missing the game. Ryan Powell (knee) is replaced by home-grown scrum half product Louis Silver who could make his senior debut for the Warriors.


“We have had a bizarre week in that even though there haves been no matches for a number of weeks a few players have presented with injuries that require rest and rehabilitation,” said Ruddock.


“There is no one specific incident involved in any of the injuries and it is just because of wear and tear scenarios given the toughness of this league.


“It’s never a surprise to hear that players are carrying injuries and we hope of better news on all of them next week while it provides opportunities for some younger players to make their mark this Saturday.


“We are hoping that home advantage will prove the difference and it certainly did when we played Newcastle,” added Ruddock.


“The fans really got behind us and we really lifted our game. We went on to record a really good victory and we have got to hope that sort of support will help us deliver again.


“The last couple of years we haven’t been too far away against Leicester and I think we are one of the only teams to go to Welford Road this season and get a losing bonus point.


“The Tigers have a massive scrum so that will be a focal point as will the breakdown and our intensity in the collisions.”


With Leicester England internationals Lewis Moody, Ben Youngs and Toby Flood are restored to the Leicester Tigers line-up.


Moody captained England in Paris last weekend and resumes his place in the Tigers back row alongside Tom Croft and Jordan Crane.


Geordan Murphy and Martin Castrogiovanni also return from the RBS 6 Nations.


“The international guys have come back and they want to play,” said Tigers head coach Richard Cockerill.


“We’ve got lots of guys fit after a short break too so we’ve got some very good competition for places. It is good to know that whoever starts and whoever is on the bench will contribute.”


Tigers go into the game at the top of the Guinness Premiership table, but Cockerill said: “We’ve seen just how close it is in this competition all season.”


“Worcester have a big pack and some quality international players. We expec

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