Preview: Worcester v Ospreys

Date published: February 3 2012

Hooker Ed Shervington will line up against his former club as Worcester tackle the Ospreys in the LV= Cup at Sixways on Saturday.

Hooker Ed Shervington will line up against his former club as Worcester tackle the Ospreys in the LV= Cup at Sixways on Saturday.

Shervington is one of ten changes to the team that faced Saracens last weekend as Head Coach Richard Hill rings the changes and looks to build momentum ahead of the return to league action next week.

Tom Arscott moves to full-back, Marcel Garvey returns on the wing while Dale Rasmussen is recalled to join forces with a new-look midfield partnership with Ravai Fatiaki. Andy Goode and Shaun Perry will combine at half back.

The forwards feature six changes as just Sam Betty and Blair Cowan remain from the Vicarage Road clash.

A new front row will see Shervigton, who made 38 appearances for the Ospreys between 2006 and 2010, pack down alongside George Porter and Tevita Taumoepeau. Chris Jones and James Percival form the second row while Jake Abbott returns at openside.

Matt Mullan, Miles Benjamin (England Saxons), Alex Grove (Scotland A) and Matt Kvesic (England U20) are all unavailable while Joe Carlisle, Adam Balding, Kai Horstmann, Bruce Douglas, Alex Crockett and Neil Best miss out through injury.

“We have picked the strongest available team to us as we aim to continue our winnings ways on home soil in 2012,” said Hill. “We've already beaten the likes of Gloucester, Banca Monte Crociati and Bath A at Sixways and so remain unbeaten here in all competitions.

“It's difficult to predict what kind of team Ospreys will bring to Sixways. If they field a similar side to the one that played at Dragons then it will be young with one or two players of real experience. If that is the case, they will have a lot of players who will want to prove a point.

“It will be tough, because they are a good outfit with a huge squad, and therefore a good test for us a week before we go to Sale. We must get a good performance before we start a run of big league games.

“Blair Cowan will make his home debut after impressing us all at Saracens. He was one of our standout players at Vicarage Road and the way he slotted into a side that he still doesn't know too well was very encouraging.

“Another player who impressed at Saracens was Ravai Fatiaki and he also gets another start alongside Dale Rasmussen in midfield. I'm sure supporters are as excited as me to see them run out and start a senior game at Sixways.”

Meanwhile, Ospreys are missing 27 players through international duty, injuries and suspension.

“The win over the Dragons was very pleasing. We had a good training week and followed it up with a good performance,” said Ospreys coach Steve Tandy.

“We tried to play rugby, moved the ball about and scored some good tries. We should have won by more though, we let a few chances go, and didn't take the kicks we had, so there's still plenty to work on.

“This weekend there's a different challenge for a team that is still pretty young. Last Friday at the Brewery Field was about being at home, having everybody behind you and representing the community. Going to difficult place like Worcester, a Premiership ground, where they will be against you, asks different questions of young players and we'll find out a bit about them.

“We can expect Worcester to be competitive in the scrum, they pride themselves in that area, and in the line-out. It's going to be a real test for this group of players.”

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

home team: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Ravai Fatiaki, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Josh Drauniniu, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry (c), 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 George Porter.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 James Currie, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Richard Muagututia, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Chris Pennell.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Sonny Parker (c), 11 Eli Walker, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Morgan Allen, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 James King, 5 James Goode, 4 Lloyd Peers, 3 Joe Rees, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Cai Griffiths.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Duncan Jones 18 Will Taylor, 19 Tom Smith, 20 Chauncey O'Toole, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Kahn Fotuali'i.

Date: Saturday, February 4
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Sixways Stadium