Worcester v London Irish Premiership Preview

Worcester Warriors are still searching out their first Aviva Premiership Rugby win since round 18 last season against relegated Newcastle.


The Warriors are winless at Sixways since beating Saracens there 16-11 on 24 February. London Irish opened their 2012/13 winning account at home to Bath on Saturday, but have not managed back to back victories since September 2011.


The Exiles have won just once on the road in any tournament in 2012: 25-16 in this equivalent match back in April.


London Irish are unbeaten in their last eleven Premiership encounters with the Warriors, Worcester’s most recent victory over Irish in the tournament was way back on 11 September 2005 at Madejski Stadium.


Worcester Warriors Head coach Richard Hill has made three changes to his starting line up including centre Josh Matavesi being recalled after his impressive try scoring exploits off the bench at Northampton last weekend and will partner Scotland international Alex Grove in midfield.


Scrum half Jonny Arr is also handed a starting jersey, forming a half back pairing with Andy Goode.


One change in the pack will see Matt Kvesic named at Number Eight. Dean Schofield will once again captain the side from the second row.


Two notable call-ups in the replacements are centre Jon Clarke, who could make his league debut for Warriors after a summer switch from Northampton, and scrum half Ollie Frost.


Scrum half Shaun Perry and wing Josh Drauniniu are among those ruled out of the game through injury.


Hill said: “You can’t ignore the fact that those players that came on at Northampton really turned the game around and many of those deserve selection so there are some changes to the starting line-up.


“Matt Kvesic, Jonny Arr and Josh Matavesi are all recalled while others like Craig Gillies are pushing very hard for starting spots and Josh Drauniniu would have been in contention before he unfortunately picked up an injury in training this week.


“Friday night games under the floodlights at Sixways always create a brilliant atmosphere so we’re all looking forward to the game with London Irish,” he added.


“We have performed well on home soil so far this season, but are yet to reap the rewards we feel we deserve.


“We know we’re performing well and doing the things we should be doing. The morale is terrific and the players are working very hard. Everything is going the right way, but we want that first win to really kick us on.”


Sailosi Tagicakibau and David Paice have both been named in the London Irish starting line-up with Samoa International, Tagicakibau, making his first competitive start of the season on the wing after playing in the centre for his previous three appearances.


David Paice replaces Scotland International, Scott Lawson, as hooker.


London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith said: “Worcester have been highly competitive so far this season and played some good rugby.”


“We played well last weekend but we know that counts for nothing, we have to front up again tomorrow night against the Warriors in their own backyard.”


Match : Worcester Warriors v London Irish
Date : Friday 28th September
Venue : Sixways
Kick Off : 8pm
Live on: N/A
Referee: Wayne Barnes (109th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Stuart Terheege.


Teams


Warriors


15 Chris Pennell , 14 Nikki Walker , 13 Alex Grove , 12 Josh Matavesi , 11 David Lemi , 10 Andy Goode , 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Betty , 6 Chris Jones , 5 Dean Schofield (c) , 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui ,1 Matt Mullan


Replacements , 16 Ollie Hayes , 17 Ceri Jones , 18 James Currie , 19 Craig Gillies , 20 Semisi Taulava , 21 Ollie Frost , 22 Joe Carlisle , 23 Jon Clarke


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