Preview: Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks

Date published: September 23 2016

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Phil Dowson is set for his 250th Premiership appearance as he leads Worcester Warriors against Sale Sharks at Sixways this Saturday.

Head Coach Carl Hogg makes four changes to the Warriors side which played Bath last weekend as Nick Schonert, Ryan Lamb, Cooper Vuna and Alafoti Faosiliva all return to the starting line-up.

Academy winger Josh Adams is once again named on the bench following his impressive display at The Rec while there’s a call-up for Max Stelling following his performances for Worcester Cavaliers.

Hogg said: "We’ve always said how important home games are. We’ve got to try and make Sixways a real fortress for us.

"We know Sale are a competitive side but we’re focused on looking at our game over an 80-minute window. This week is another great opportunity for some of our younger guys who performed extremely well last week."

Meanwhile Sale Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has made four changes to the starting XV who lost to Gloucester last Friday evening.

AJ MacGinty returns to the side at fly half, having missed the previous two games. His half-back partner will be Peter Stringer, who will make his first start of the season. Kieran Longbottom comes in at tight-head prop to make his first start for the club and there is a reshuffle in the back-line with Sam James missing out with a hamstring injury.

Will Addison moves to centre and Nev Edwards starts on the wing. Nick Scott, who joined the club in the close season from Newport Gwent Dragons, is named on the bench.

Speaking about the game, Sale boss Steve Diamond said: "We had a team meeting on Monday and discussed the Gloucester game. We know what we have to do to up our performances and hopefully this will start on Saturday afternoon at Sixways.

"Make no mistake though, Worcester now have a 4G pitch and are also scoring points as they showed in the games against Gloucester and Bath. Training has gone well this week and we are looking forward to the game."

Form: Worcester Warriors are without a win in their last seven Premiership Rugby matches, although they did draw 23-all at home to Gloucester in round two. The Warriors most recent victory in the competition was 12-6 in a tryless encounter with London Irish at Sixways on 26th March. Sale Sharks only victory in the first three rounds of Premriship Rugby was 19-10 at home to Harlequins in round two. The Sharks have won two of their last four away games in the tournament, at London Irish and at Newcastle both last season. Worcester beat Sale 31-23 in this equivalent fixture at Sixways in round 13 last year and have not achieved back-to-back successes against Sale since 2008. The Sharks only victory at Sixways in Premiership Rugby since 2009 came in February 2014.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Tevita Cavubati, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Max Stelling, 23 Josh Adams

Sale Sharks: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Nev Edwards, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont(c), 7 David Seymour, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Ross Harrison, 17 Halani Aulika, 18 Andrei Ostrikov, 19 Laurence Pearce, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Dan Mugford, 23 Nick Scott

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner & Roy Maybank
TMO: David Rose

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