Worcester v Northampton Premiership Preview

Worcester Warriors host Exeter Chiefs at Sixways Stadium

Worcester Warriors have brought back fly half Andy Goode and prop Euan Murray for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Northampton Saints at Sixways Stadium


Goode was forced out of last week’s defeat at Bath Rugby through illness, but is not one of two changes by Head Coach Richard Hill as Worcester hunt a crucial league victory on home soil.


Scotland international Euan Murray also returns to the starting line-up after his exploits for his country in the RBS Six Nations.


“We were disappointed with the Bath game as our accuracy wasn’t there on the day,” said Head Coach Hill. “However, I don’t feel the final score line reflected the huge amount of effort the team put in and it was a hard result to stomach.


“It’s a big test for us against Northampton. They will be boosted by the release of several England internationals and will be close to full strength.


“While we want a positive result there is no doubt that the Saints are fired-up too and we have to guard against that.


“Every time they have a disappointing result, and are written off like they have been in some quarters after the defeat to Gloucester last weekend, they have rebounded with a massive performance.


“They are dangerous, but we are hurting too after last week and so I expect a big response from the Warriors.”


In terms of recent form, Worcester Warriors have lost their last three fixtures in all competitions.


At Sixways, the Warriors’ 14-19 reversal to Leicester in their most recent home Aviva Premiership Rugby match ended a four game winning run at the venue in the tournament.


Northampton Saints have won only one of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby contests: 30-19 at Exeter in round 13.


The Saints have picked up just 13 of a possible 30 league points from their last six matches.


Worcester have not beaten Northampton since the Saints’ most recent visit to Sixways on 30 September 2011, whilst Northampton’s most recent victory at the stadium was when they beat Gloucester there, 30-24, in the final of the 2010 Anglo-Welsh Cup.


Northampton Saints Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says every player is motivated to put things right against the Warriors after their Gloucester home loss.


“We’ve had open and honest discussions among the coaches and players this week, as we do every week,” he commented.


“There were some good aspects to our play last week ” we created chances and could have scored three more tries than we did ” but we were also sloppy in areas, especially defence, and we’ve worked hard to tighten things up.


“Worcester can put in big performances, especially at home, and they’re going to be up for the game. They’ve got some experienced and influential players in their squad and we will have to be streetwise as well as increase our intensity, physicality and accuracy from last week.”


Match : Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints
Date : Saturday 16th February
Venue : Sixways
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee
: Greg Garner (44th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stuart, Paul Burton.


Teams


Worcester Warriors


15 Errie Claassens , 14 Josh Drauniniu , 13 Alex Grove , 12 Jon Clarke , 11 David Lemi , 10 Andy Goode , 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic , 7 Sam Betty , 6 Neil Best , 5 Dean Schofield , 4 James Percival (c), 3 Euan Murray , 2 Aleki Lutui , 1 Matt Mullan


Replacements : 16 Ed Shervington , 17 Ceri Jones , 18 John Andress , 19 Craig Gillies , 20 Jake Abbott , 21 Paul Hodgson , 22 Danny Gray , 23 Josh Matavesi


Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson,

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