Preview: Worcester v Saracens

Winless Worcester meet an in-form Saracens outfit in the Guinness Premiership as both desperately look for success at Sixways on Saturday.

The last time these two met was on the final day of the 2006/7 Premiership season, when the Warriors, needing a victory to ensure top-flight survival, stormed to a comprehensive 22-7 victory.

However, the late surge of April has failed to cascade into the new term as Worcester have not yet recorded a win.

Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock makes just one alteration this week with the injured Dom Feaunati replaced by Mark Tucker at centre.

And Ruddock is seeking that same late-season spirit and hunger from his side as they sit uncomfortably close to Leeds at the foot of the table.

“I think Saracens will remember the game last season and the physicality of the Warriors, we have got to reproduce that,” he said.

“It is going to be a tough day for us but we know we are capable of beating them which helps our confidence.

Meanwhile, Saracens have recalled fly-half Glen Jackson to their starting XV following his cameo during last Sunday’s 31-7 victory at Leeds.

Director of Rugby Alan Gaffney has made several changes to his squad from the Headingley trip with Ben Skirving, Kevin Sorrell and Don Barrell selected in the 22.

Elsewhere, Fijian Sakiusa Matadigo is handed his debut on the flank, with Kris Chesney subsequently moving into the second-row and Samoa’s Census Johnston also returning.

And Gaffney’s physical selection comes from past experience, as the Australian expects another testing encounter at Sixways.

“We know it’s going to be a very tough game at Worcester,” he said.

“Their track record against us in the past twelve months has been more than alright and at Sixways on the final day of last season, they absolutely smashed us!

“They were too physical for us on that day and we can expect another hard physical battle this Saturday.

“They have some good players on the pitch. In Craig Gillies they have one of the best lineout forwards in the competition and Shane Drahm can really control matches.

“We’ll have some pretty handy players out on the pitch also but there is no doubt that this is going to be a tough game.”

Form: Saracens are gunning for their third consecutive away victory in the Guinness Premiership, something that the visitors have not managed since winning four in a row back in 2005. However, Saturday’s hosts hold the recent advantage over Sarries, having won three of their last four meetings.

Worcester: 15 Shane Drahm, 14 Thinus Delport, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Mark Tucker, 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 James Brown, 9 Ryan Powell, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Pat Sanderson (c), 6 Drew Hickey, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 Phil Murphy, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Chris Fortey, 1 Darren Morris.
Replacements: 16 Tony Windo, 17 Ben Gotting, 18 Will Bowley, 19 Gavin Quinnell, 20 Matt Powell, 21 Gary Trueman, 22 Chris Pennell.

Saracens: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Edd Thrower, 13 Kevin Sorrell, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Rodd Penney, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock (c), 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Richard Hill, 6 Sakiusa Matadigo, 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Kris Chesney, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Kevin Yates.
Replacements: 16 Andy Kyriacou, 17 Nick Lloyd, 18 Iain Fullarton, 19 Don Barrell, 20 Alan Dickens, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Noah Cato.

Date: Saturday, 5 October 2007
Kick-off: 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT)
Venue: Sixways
Referee: Martin Fox
Touch judges: Andrew Pearce, Paul Dickens
Television match official: Brian Abrahams


365 Digital

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