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Preview: Worcester v London Irish

09th April 2010 12:25

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Marcel Garvey

Marcel Garvey: Back in Worcester's mix

Wing Marcel Garvey returns to the starting XV for Worcester as they prepare for a crunch Guinness Premiership clash with London Irish on Saturday.

Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock makes a total of four changes to the team that last week faced Sale Sharks.

Scotland international Alex Grove returns at outside centre to combine with Dale Rasmussen who moves to inside centre.

Lock Graham Kitchener is handed a start in the second row while hooker Aleki Lutui is called up.

Fijian international back row Netani Talei is set for his first senior appearance since November after being named among the replacements.

"Having reflected on the Sale match, we dominated territory, possession and carrying statistics but didn't break the line often enough so I have made a few changes both in the team and on the bench to try and rectify our lack of cutting edge," said Ruddock.

"Ball carriers Aleki Lutui and Graham Kitchener come into the pack and pace men Alex Grove and Marcel Garvey come into the team out wide.

"On the bench, Netani Talei comes in following a long time out after a shoulder operation. He is raring to go.

"Chris Pennell has made the bench after seeing specialist this week who gave him the all clear to play as the injury wasn't as serious as first feared."

Meanwhile, Chris Malone starts at fly-half for the Irish in place of the injured Ryan Lamb. Alex Corbisiero makes his first start of 2010 at loosehead prop and Jamie Gibson replaces the injured George Stowers at blindside flanker. Bob Casey captains the team.

"We knew what we had to focus on this week and the players have responded well in training," said London Irish Head Coach, Toby Booth.

"Worcester will throw everything at this match as they have nothing to lose, therefore our accuracy and our discipline will be of paramount importance.

"We're very confident that we will finish in the top four - we have a great squad, work rate and team spirit. We will bounce back in tomorrow's match," Booth added.

Form: The Warriors have not beaten Irish in the Premiership since a 20-15 victory at Madejski Stadium on 11 September 2005. Worcester Warriors have won just one of their last 14 matches in the Guinness Premiership since September: 13-0 at home to Newcastle on 26 February. The Warriors have won three of their last four games at Sixways in all competitions. London Irish's last four encounters have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Exiles have not won on the road in 2010 since their 36-3 victory in Brive in the European Cup on 12 December. Worcester have already beaten London Irish at Sixways this season: 19-9 in the LV= Cup on 6 February.

Worcester: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Rico Gear, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Pat Sanderson (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Adam Black.
Replacements: 16 Callum Black, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Olivier Sourgens, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Louis Silver, 22 Matthew Jones, 23 Chris Pennell.

London Irish: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 John Rudd, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Delon Armitage, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Chris Hala'Ufia, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Bob Casey (captain), 4 Kieran Roche, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 James Buckland, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Danie Coetzee, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Garvey, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Tom Homer, 22 Marcus Watson, 23 Ben Stevenson.

Date: Saturday, April 10
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 15.00 BST
Referee: Martin Fox

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