Preview: Worcester v Gloucester

Date published: January 6 2012

Tevita Taumoepeau and Jake Abbott are called into the Worcester team for Saturday's derby with Gloucester at Sixways Stadium.

Prop Tevita Taumoepeau and flanker Jake Abbott are called into the Worcester team for Saturday's sold-out Aviva Premiership derby with Gloucester at Sixways Stadium.

Taumoepeau is named in the front row alongside Matt Mullan and Aleki Lutui while Abbott is part of a new-look back row as he combines with Sam Betty and Matt Kvesic.

Chris Pennell will captain the team from full-back while Richard Muagututia could make his Aviva Premiership debut after being named among the replacements.

“The big challenge, after really battling for a win at Wasps, is to really back it up with a home victory. We have got to really start to establish this as a difficult place for other teams to come to,” said Head Coach Richard Hill.

“Gloucester have been superb and I watched them play at home at Kingsholm against Wasps and that was some of the best rugby I have seen – it was absolutely astounding.

“Wasps lost six tries to one but I don't think any team in the Aviva Premiership would have lived with Gloucester on that day. They were on fire and have hit from at a good time.

“We have five crucial home games to come, including the derby, and we have to make sure we take advantage of the fantastic support we have to turn those fixtures into wins.

“We want to be looking up the table as opposed to over our shoulder and bringing our supporters a winning brand of rugby. It will be fantastic to see another sell-out crowd at Sixways and we want to perform for them.”

Meanwhile, second row Alex Brown is back the Gloucester side having successfully come through his return in the A League on Monday.

Brown's return after injury is the only change to the starting line up that drew last weekend at Saracens as he makes his first start for the first team since mid September.

Peter Buxton moves to the bench to accommodate Brown's return while Jonny May is also back in the matchday 23 having recovered from his bout of 'flu.

If Buxton takes the field, it will be his 250th competitive appearance for the club.

“Saturday's going to be a massive, massive game. They've got nothing to lose now they've a ten point cushion over Newcastle and it's a derby match,” said Head Coach Bryan Redpath.

“We've not gone up there and played particularly well in the past so we have to be hugely focussed as this game is very important to us before we go into the Heineken Cup and LV= Cup for a few weeks.

“We're well aware that they have a very good defensive record. They're very dogged and we're going to have to be very physical to break them down.

“We have to show them the utmost respect because they won't just lie down. It is a derby game and it'll be very tough.”

Form: Worcester Warriors have won three of their last four games in all competitions, the defeat being at home to in-form Leicester on 27 December. The Warriors have scored just nine tries in their 12 matches so far. Gloucester are undefeated in their last four encounters. Gloucester's only away win since last February in Aviva Premiership Rugby was 24-19 at Exeter Chiefs on 5 November. The Warriors have not beaten Gloucester since April 2009 at Kingsholm, whilst Gloucester have gained three wins and three losses on previous visits to Sixways in the Premiership.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Worcester : 15 Chris Pennell (c), 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Bruce Douglas, 17 Ed Shervington, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Richard Muagututia, 21 Shaun Perry, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.

Gloucester : 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway (capt) 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Jonny May

Date: Saturday, January 7
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Referee: Martin Fox