Preview: Worcester v Northampton

Date published: November 17 2016

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Ryan Mills and Cooper Vuna return to the starting line-up for Worcester's Premiership clash with Northampton at Sixways on Friday.

Centre Mills is set for his first appearance of the season while winger Vuna returns for the first time since featuring in Warriors' win over Newcastle Falcons at the start of October. 

The pair are two of five changes to the Warriors team which battled Harlequins in their last Premiership outing, with flanker Dewald Potgieter making his first Premiership start of the season and Niall Annett and Wynand Olivier restored to the starting line-up. 

19-year-old Jamie Shillcock starts at fly-half with Jonny Arr joining him in the half-back combination while Dean Hammond also keeps his place on the wing. 

Warriors' 2015/16 Player of the Season Bryce Heem is named on the bench and could make his long-awaited return from injury having yet to feature during this campaign. 

There could also be Premiership debuts for Academy youngsters Jack Singleton and Andrew Kitchener along with scrum-half Michael Dowsett, who arrived at the Club earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Ben Foden will become the 55th player to reach 200 Northampton Saints first-team appearances when he runs out at Sixways in Friday's Premiership clash.

The full-back returns to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in last Saturday’s Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Gloucester as one of nine changes to the team.

Form: Worcester Warriors only victory in their last eleven Premiership Rugby matches was 11-9 at home to Newcastle Falcons on 2 October. The Warriors have lost just one of their last five fixtures at Sixways in all tournaments, and that by a single point to Brive in the European Challenge Cup on 22 October. Northampton Saints last three encounters in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst The Saints most recent victory on the road in the competition was at Bristol in Round 2. Northampton have lost just one of their last seven matches against Worcester – 12-13 on their most recent visit to Sixways in October 2015.

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Mike Daniels, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Josh Adams, 23 Bryce Heem

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 James Wilson, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Sam Dickinson (c), 7 Calum Clark, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Tom Collins

Date: Friday, November 18
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Peter Allan
TMO: Geoff Warren

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