Preview: Bristol v Worcester

Flanker Pat Sanderson returns for Worcester as the Warriors coach John Brain makes three changes to his team for the Guinness Premiership clash with Bristol at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

England international Sanderson has missed the last two top-flight games with Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons with a broken hand but now returns at openside in place of Tom Harding. Kai Horstmann moves to blindside flanker and Drew Hickey switches to number eight.

Prop Darren Morris is handed a starting spot with Tony Windo on the replacements bench and Chris Horsman returns to the front row following his Six Nations exploits with Wales.

Former France international Thomas Lombard is named amongst the replacements.

“We are playing well and we have got to make sure we are keen to get going again after the break. The start to the game will be crucial and that is the key to re-establishing some momentum,” said Brain.

“It is close at the bottom but all I’m concerned about is us, we know if we approach the game in the right way we are in with a real shout of winning it.

“It is effectively another cup final but we don’t think about the significance of the outcome, we have a clear focus on what we need to do to win that match.”

Form: Bristol’s only victory in their last six matches in all competitions was 31-19 over Northampton at Memorial Stadium on 25 March. At home Bristol have lost just once this season: 7-12 to London Irish in the Guinness Premiership on 10 March. Worcester Warriors have put together an impressive sequence of three straight wins to lift them off the bottom of the table for the first time this season. The Warriors remain the only side in the Guinness Premiership not to have recorded a try bonus point this season. Bristol’s 41-11 win at Sixways in September was their first win over the Warriors since a 21-11 victory at Memorial Stadium in Premiership Two in May 1999. Worcester have won on their last two visits to Bristol.

The teams:

Bristol: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Neil Brew, 12 Sam Cox, 11 David Lemi, 10 Danny Gray, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Joe El Abd, 6 Alfie To’oala, 5 Roy Winters, 4 Gareth Llewellyn (c), 3 Darren Crompton, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Dave Hilton,
Replacements: 16 Scott Linklater, 17 Alex Clarke, 18 Sean Hohneck, 19 Nathan Budgett, 20 Greg Nicholls, 21 Jason Strange, 22 Brian Lima

Worcester Warriors: 15 Shane Drahm, 14 Aisea Havili, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Mark Tucker, 11 Thinus Delport, 10 James Brown, 9 Matt Powell, 8 Drew Hickey, 7 Pat Sanderson, 6 Kai Horstmann, 5 Phil Murphy, 4 Craig Gillies, 3 Chris Horsman, 2 Chris Fortey, 1 Darren Morris
Replacements: 16 Tony Windo, 17 Aleki Lutui, 18 Richard Blaze, 19 Gavin Quinnell, 20 Nick Runciman, 21 Thomas Lombard, 22 Lee Best

Date: Saturday 7 April
Venue: Memorial Stadium
Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Touch judges: Paul Dix, Robert Mullis
Television match official: Laurie Bryant, Graham Hughes


365 Digital

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