Preview: Worcester v Ospreys

Worcester have made just one change to the starting line-up for the EDF Energy Cup clash against last year’s finalists the Ospreys at Sixways on Saturday.

Warriors coach Mike Ruddock hands a starting spot to lock Phil Murphy in the second row with Will Bowley moving to the bench as the home team hunt their first win of the season.

Hooker Chris Fortey returns to the squad with a place on the bench and centre Dominic Feaunati is ruled out through injury.

“I know all about Ospreys and they got to the final of the EDF Energy Cup last season so they know what it takes to perform well in this tournament,” said Ruddock.

“They have a lot of big match players and won the Magners League last season, they are a very difficult proposition.

“Lyn Jones and Sean Holley (Ospreys coaches) have done a great job with this team by winning two Celtic League titles. You can see the strength in their side and they will want to hit top gear as they approach Europe.

“But we will go out there to win and get a result. We want to play well in front of our fans.

“We will push on with our game plan and our style of play; we don’t see any reason to change them.

“All the indicators show we are not under pressure and are winning more ball than the opposition. We just need to cut down our errors and silly mistakes that have cost us games.”

Meanwhile, the Ospreys have named a strong line-up that includes a side packed with internationals for their tournament opener.

The starting line-up features eight of Wales’ World Cup squad with three more on the bench as Lyn Jones goes all out for a win against Worcester.

In the pack Huw Bennett and Duncan Jones take their places at hooker and loose-head prop respectively, whilst Ian Evans and Ian Gough form the second row partnership. Jonathan Thomas completes the Welsh contingent in the pack, taking his place at blindside flank.

Behind a strong pack former All Black Justin Marshall comes in at scrum-half and will partner James Hook who was benched against Munster last week. Sonny Parker returns in the thirteen jersey to for a formidable centre partnership with Gavin Henson.

“After last years narrow loss in the final against Leicester at Twickenham both players and supporters are keen to see us make amends and go one step further this year,” said Ospreys coach Lyn Jones.

“This is a great tournament and we hugely enjoyed last season’s competition.

“There is always an edge when you play the English clubs that comes from both traditional rivalries and from the fact that we simply do not come up against each other that often.

“This lack of familiarity is exciting for us as coaches and players and it should give spectators an enjoyable and open match.”

“Worcester have not had the best of starts this season, losing all but one of their games, but this is not for want of trying and I am sure they will prove to be strong opposition on Saturday.

“Their game is organised and structured and they are well coached, as you would expect with Mike and Clive at the helm.

“They will be disappointed to have lost games by the odd score and we know that we will have to be at our best to get what we want out of the game.”

Form: Worcester Warriors are still without a victory in the Guinness Premiership this season, but did win two of their three pool fixtures in last season’s EDF Energy Cup, beating Northampton and Newport Gwent Dragons. Ospreys were runners up in the EDF Energy Cup last season, and are the reigning Magners League champions. The Welshmen made a shaky start to the defence of their league crown with three straight defeats, but are now unbeaten in their last three matches. Ospreys have won five of the last six games they have played against English opposition. Worcester have played just two competitve matches against Welsh teams – both against the Dragons in this

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