Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v Leicester

06th February 2014 11:29

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LEICESTER TIGERS V ULSTER HEINEKEN CUP LOGOVI'I MULIPOLA

Healthy: Logovi'i Mulipola

Argentinian international Agustin Creevy is set to start for Worcester Warriors against Leicester Tigers on Friday at Sixways.

Creevy marked his Warriors debut with a try in October before sustaining a knee injury against Bath a fortnight later which has kept the hooker sidelined for the last three months.

But the giant forward will return against Leicester in the front-row as Director of Rugby Dean Ryan makes six changes to the side that faced Exeter Chiefs in the LV= Cup last weekend.

Creevy will be joined by Ofa Fainga'anuku and John Andress in the front-row, while James Percival and Mariano Galarza will feature at second-row.

Mike Williams keeps his place in the back-row alongside Sam Betty and captain Jonathan Thomas.

Jonny Arr returns at scrum-half and Paul Warwick replaces Ignacio Mieres as fly-half.

Alex Grove, who was on Scotland 'A' duty against England Saxons last weekend, returns to the side in place of youngster Max Stelling at outside-centre.

David Lemi will start his first Premiership game since November with Josh Drauniniu on the opposite wing. Leonardo Senatore, Paul Hodgson and Josh Matavesi are all named in the replacements.

"Leicester must be delighted that Toby Flood and Ben Youngs are available and that Anthony Allen is back," said Ryan.

"They've got a significant injury list but they have a significant squad. That's what a good club is. It has layers of depth and a heritage of success.

"That's what we are trying to build and Leicester are a great template for success over the years.

"People only go there that want to be successful and they are a great Premiership advert for English rugby.

"They're always very physical and they've always got great set-piece. They've got some world-class players in that team.

"I'm desperate for this club to fight for its survival and therefore I've got to frame decisions around that.

"We're going to have to beat a team like Leicester, Northampton or Harlequins if we are to get ourselves out of this position.

"That starts at home this Friday night and we will fight like mad to give ourselves every chance."

Meanwhile, international prop Logovi'i Mulipola returns to the Leicester Tigers line-up for Friday's clash.

Mulipola has been sidelined since suffering a calf injury playing for Samoa against Ireland in November but returns this week to join Marcos Ayerza and Rob Hawkins in the Tigers front-row.

Ben Youngs and Ed Slater return from England's Six Nations squad and go straight into the Leicester line-up which will be led by skipper Toby Flood.

Mathew Tait is among the senior players back in action after sitting out the LV= Cup weeks, while Blaine Scully and Vereniki Goneva are on the wings with Adam Thompstone ruled out after taking a knock in his England Saxons debut against Scotland 'A' last Friday.

Internationals Steve Mafi, Pablo Matera and Scott Hamilton are included among the replacements and there is a place for England Under-20s hooker Harry Thacker in an Aviva Premiership matchday squad for the first time.

Form: A Heineken Cup exit at the hands of Ulster and consecutive defeats in the LV= Cup have left the Tigers searching for some momentum upon their return to Aviva Premiership action. Worcester are yet to win a single Aviva Premiership fixture this season, losing their 12th match in a row against London Irish on January 4 in a 22-9 defeat at the Madejski Stadium.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 George Porter, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Josh Matavesi

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacments: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 David Mélé, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Scott Hamilton

Date: Friday, February 7
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Sixways
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Gareth Copsey
Television match official: Rowan Kitt
Timekeeper: David Hudson
Assessor: Chris White

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