Worcester Warriors v Wasps Premiership Preview

Worcester Warriors host Wasps at Sixways Stadium

Worcester Warriors Director of Rugby Dean Ryan has made five changes to his Warriors side for this Saturday’s West Midlands derby with Wasps at Sixways.

Tom Biggs, Ryan Mills, Nick Schonert, Jaba Bregvadze and Phil Dowson are all restored to the starting line-up as Warriors chase a fourth straight home win in the Aviva Premiership.

The backline sees a reshuffle as Bryce Heem moves to outside centre with Biggs replacing the Kiwi on the right flank and joining Chris Pennell and Cooper Vuna in the back three.

Mills will link-up with Heem in the centre while Tom Heathcote and Francois Hougaard maintain their half-back partnership.

In the pack, tighthead Schonert and Georgian international Bregvadze start next to Val Rapava Ruskin, while Donncha O’Callaghan and Darren Barry continue to fill the second row.

Dowson also returns to the side in the back row, joining Carl Kirwan and skipper GJ van Velze, while Tevita Cavubati is named on the bench after returning from a ban.

Ryan said: “Wasps are a massively physical side but we’re not daunted by these last three games.

“These are the challenges we set the Club to take on and every one of the sides we have left to face have something to play for so there are no freebies for us.

“There’s only been two or three times when we’ve fallen short in competition this season and we don’t want that to increase just because it’s the end of the year.

“We want to continue to see how close we can get to the best sides in this country.”

Worcester Warriors’ four game winning run came to a halt in round 19 on their visit to Exeter.

The Warriors have won their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters at Sixways and have not won four in a row at the venue since December 2012.

Wasps’ solitary defeat in their last twelve fixtures since the end of January came on a visit to Gloucester on 5th March. Wasps have picked up at least one league point from all away games they have played this season.

Wasps have won their last three encounters with the Warriors and have also been triumphant on three of their last four visits to Sixways in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Meanwhile Christian Wade will make his 100th appearance for Wasps in a team that also features Rob Miller, Thomas Young and Bradley Davies.

Miller returns at fullback, with Charles Piutau moving to 13 and Elliot Daly shuffling across to 12, as Siale Piutau gets a rest having played in every game since his arrival at the club in February.

Italian international Lorenzo Cittadini starts in the front row with Jake Cooper-Woolley moving to the bench. Bradley Davies and Joe Launchbury form the second row partnership, following Kearnan Myall’s knee injury against Exeter Chiefs.

Thomas Young earns a start at 7 after impressing off the bench last weekend, with George Smith given the weekend off having only missed two games all season.

On the bench, Will Rowlands, Sam Jones and Brendan Macken are all named among the replacements, ready for their chance to impress again.

Ahead of the game, Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “After the emotional high of Saturday’s last-minute victory in Europe, the players have responded well in training this week and have quickly focused their attentions on what will be a very difficult trip to Sixways, back in the Aviva Premiership.

“After a tough start to the season, Worcester have really shown their quality in recent weeks, with wins over London Irish, Harlequins, Newcastle Falcons, Gloucester and Sale Sharks, so we know the challenge that will face us at Sixways. For us, it’s an opportunity to cement our place in the top four and to continue to push for a strong finish in the Aviva Premiership.”

The Bookies have given Worcester a 4 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Worcester Warriors v Wasps
Date : Saturday 16 April
Venue : Sixways,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :JP Doyle (112th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce & Simon McConnell.
TMO: David Grashoff.

Teams

Warriors

15 Chris Pennell , 14 Tom Biggs , 13 Bryce Heem , 12 Ryan Mills , 11 Cooper Vuna , 10 Tom Heathcote , 9 Francois Hougaard , 8 GJ van Velze (C), 7 Carl Kirwan , 6 Phil Dowson , 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan , 3 Nick Schonert , 2 Jaba Bregvadze ,1 Val Rapava Ruskin

Replacements , 16 Niall Annett , 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga , 18 James Johnston , 19 Tevita Cavubati , 20 Sam Betty , 21 Luke Baldwin , 22 Ryan Lamb , 23 Andy Symons

Wasps

15. Rob Miller , 14. Christian Wade , 13. Charles Piutau , 12. Elliot Daly , 11. Frank Halai , 10. Jimmy Gopperth , 9. Dan Robson , 8. Nathan Hughes , 7. Thomas Young , 6. James Haskell (c) , 5. Bradley Davies , 4. Joe Launchbury , 3. Lorenzo Cittadini, 2. Carlo Festuccia,1. Matt Mullan

Replacements : 16. Ashley Johnson , 17. Simon McIntyre , 18. Jake Cooper-Woolley , 19. Will Rowlands , 20. Sam Jones , 21. Joe Simpson , 22. Ruaridh Jackson , 23. Brendan Macken

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