Preview: Worcester Warriors v Harlequins

Date published: December 30 2016

Worcester Head Coach Carl Hogg has made five changes to his starting line-up for their New Year's Day clash with Harlequins at Sixways.

Ryan Mills starts at fly-half for Warriors who are looking to keep up Harlequins' away woes, having lost every game on the road in the Premiership this season.

Academy star Josh Adams is restored to the starting line-up at full-back, while fellow Academy youngster Jack Singleton is given the nod at hooker.

Loosehead prop Val Rapava Ruskin also returns to the front row while Ireland and British and Irish Lions legend Donncha O'Callaghan comes back into the second-row.

Biyi Alo could make his first Premiership appearance for the club from the bench, while Tevita Cavubati is also among the replacements and could make his first appearance since picking up an injury back in September.

Experienced centre Wynand Olivier is also recalled to the matchday 23.

Meanwhile, Harlequins has announced the team that sees two changes to the side that played Gloucester at Twickenham on Tuesday. 

Scottish international Tim Visser is rested as Alofa Alofa starts on the wing.

Chris Robshaw is named at blindside flanker and will make his first appearance for the club following his international commitments with England.

Speaking ahead of the match, Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston, said: "Sunday is the second of three Premiership matches over the Christmas and New Year period and we are looking to back up our victory in Big Game 9 against Gloucester.

"We are acutely aware of the threat that Worcester will pose following their recent defeat at Bristol; Sunday will be a massive challenge, but one we are very much looking forward to."

Form: Worcester Warriors have won only once in Premiership Rugby in the last 15 matches since March: 11-9 at home to Newcastle on 2nd October, whilst they have tallied just one league point from their last six matches during the 17-18 defeat at home to Northampton in round Eight. Harlequins only defeat in their last five matches in all tournaments was 32-38 at Newcastle in round 10 of Premiership Rugby. All eleven of Harlequins matches in Premiership Rugby this season have gone the way of the home team. Harlequins have won fourteen of their last fifteen encounters with the Warriors in Premiership Rugby, the exception being a 15-21 reversal at The Stoop in round 17 last season. ‘Quins have in fact only lost once in any competition at Sixways: 7-33 in Premiership Rugby on their first ever visit in October 2004.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Josh Adams, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Dewald Potgieter (c), 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 George de Cothi, 22 Connor Braid, 23 Wynand Olivier

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Alofa Alofa, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Jack Clifford, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 Stan South, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Charlie Walker

Date: Sunday, January 1
Venue: Sixways
Time: 15:00 Local
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Peter Allan
TMO: David Rose

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