Worcester v Exeter Anglo Welsh LV= Cup preview

Worcester Warriors have named David Lemi to play his first match since November when they face Exeter Chiefs at Sixways in the Anglo Welsh LV=Cup on Saturday.

The Warriors have named a strong line-up to face the Devon side as director of rugby Dean Ryan makes 11 changes to the side which travelled to Sale last Saturday.

Jonathan Thomas will start his first game since the trip to Gloucester before Christmas. He lines-up alongside Sam Betty and Mike Williams, who comes in at flanker.

James Percival partners Mariano Galarza in the second row, while Chris Brooker is the only change in the front row.

Chris Pennell makes his first start in almost a month, while Josh Drauniniu, Ignacio Mieres and Jeremy Su’a all return to the backline.

Ryan said: “A few guys are coming back. They are a bit miffed as they haven’t played in recent weeks and they want to. That is a nice balance to have.

“We know this weekend is a stepping stone into the Premiership and we’d like to do it with a winning performance to give us that confidence going forward.

“Hopefully we can get a lot of our guys out there and playing some rugby and come out without any bumps and bruises.

“I want every one of our top players fit and ready for selection next week, which is important.”

Meanwhile, unlike last week where the Chiefs fielded a healthy mix of youth and experience for their 36-22 win over the Ospreys, the visitors are virtually at full-strength as they look to net a third successive Cup win in as many weeks.

“It’s been great to see the young kids coming through,” said Exeter’s assistant coach Ali Hepher.

“They’ve been doing a great job and academy is going fantastic. Stu Townsend starting at nine last week had an influential performance; Max Bodilly, Jack Oulton and Tom Hendrickson also did well and it was fantastic to see them out there and performing in the shirt.

“None of the guys let themselves down on the day, but equally they still have lots to learn.

“Right now it’s an exciting period for the squad because we have so many big games coming up.

Whether you are running with the first team or blooding young guys, it’s exciting to see what happens.

“Our focus, though, is building for that Premiership block and part of that process is making sure we put in a big performance this weekend.

“Going to Worcester will be a tough ask as it’s one of the toughest places to go in the Premiership.

Crucially we’ve managed to nick a win the last couple of times we have been there in the dying seconds, but we’re well aware it takes a big performance to get a result up there and that’s what we will have to deliver at the weekend.”

Match : Worcester Warriors (Pool 3) v Exeter Chiefs (Pool 2)
Date : Saturday February the 1st
Venue : Sixways
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee
: Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU, 11th competition game).
Assistant Referees: Kalvin Stewart and Paul Burton (RFU)

Teams

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Jeremy Su’a, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O’Donnell, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 George Porter.

Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Ofa Fainga’anuku, 18 John Andress, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 James Stephenson.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Ian Whitt

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