Preview: Worcester v Wasps

Date published: October 27 2011

England hooker Steve Thompson will make his debut for Wasps when they travel to Worcester on Friday for an Aviva Premiership clash.

England hooker Steve Thompson will make his debut for Wasps when they travel to Worcester on Friday for an Aviva Premiership clash.

Wasps boss Dai Young has rung the changes for the game, making eight alterations to the team that suffered a shock loss to Dragons in the LV= Cup last time out.

Thompson takes over the number two jersey and scrum-half Joe Simpson is handed his first start. Riki Flutey, who has spent the past four weeks out injured, returns to the fray while Nick Robinson, Ben Broster, Tim Payne, Jonathan Poff and Richard Birkett are all handed starting berths.

Thompson made his Premiership bow thirteen years ago but despite having plenty of game time under his belt he admits that a new challenge is still a great thrill.

“I can't wait to get out there and am delighted to get my first start because there is a lot of competition here for the number two shirt. I've thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks with the club and I feel fresh and ready for action,” said the hooker.

Worcester are currently struggling with just nine points from their first six games of the season but despite this, Young is not taking anything for granted.

“We know that Worcester are very strong at home and away wins are always difficult, but if we want to do well in this league we have got to start picking up results on the road,” he asserted.

Worcester have been handed a massive boost ahead of the clash with the return to action of scrum-half Shaun Perry.

The number nine suffered what was feared to be a season-ending knee injury in late September but has made a remarkable recovery.

Perry's return is the only change to the starting line-up that faced London Irish in the Warriors' last league fixture.

There are, however, a number of changes on the bench with Tongan hooker Aleki Lutui returning from international duty while prop George Porter replaces the injured Ceri Jones. Flank Sam Betty is rewarded for his good Cup form with a place on the bench, as is utility-back Chris Pennell.

Worcester: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen (c), 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Chris Jones, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Neil Best, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 George Porter, 17 Aleki Lutui, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Adam Balding, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Chris Pennell.

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 John Hart (c), 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Richard Birkett, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Zak Taulafo, 18 Jeremy Castex, 19 Joe Burton, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Chris Mayor.

Date: Friday, October 27
Kick-off: 19:45 (18:45 GMT)
Venue: Sixways Stadium
Referee: Greg Garner