Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v Saracens

23rd February 2012 12:54


andy goode

Back for Warriors: Andy Goode

Fly-half Andy Goode returns for Worcester Warriors as they host Aviva Premiership champions Saracens at Sixways on Friday.

Goode is one of four changes made by Head Coach Richard Hill as the Warriors look to build on an impressive start to 2012 on home soil.

Errie Claassens is named at full-back while Chris Pennell moves to wing with Marcel Garvey ruled out. Shaun Perry will again captain the team from scrum-half.

"We will be without Marcel as he is still suffering from concussion sustained against Harlequins," said Hill.

"First and foremost is the welfare of our players and Marcel will be given as much time as he needs to make a full recovery. This will mean a reshuffle in the back line."

Two changes in the pack see Aleki Lutui named at hooker while lock Chris Jones is named in the second-row alongside James Percival.

"Our last four league fixtures have seen us play three away from Sixways and so we always knew it was going to be a difficult period. However, the team has responded magnificently," added Hill.

"We now enter a series of four games out of six at home and so this is the time to press on.

"Although Saracens are missing players on international duty, they still possess a powerful squad and many big performers. It's an exciting challenge for the Warriors."

Meanwhile, full-back Alex Goode will make his 100th appearance for Saracens.

In team news ahead of the game, Director of Rugby Mark McCall makes five changes to his starting line-up.

In the forwards, number eight Ernst Joubert returns from injury to captain the side with second-row Hugh Vyvyan also starting and Will Fraser coming into the back-row.

In the backs, Michael Tagicakibau takes up a spot on the wing while centre Joel Tomkins will make his first start in the Aviva Premiership.

On the bench, prop Petrus du Plessis returns while second-row Eoin Sheriff is in line to make his Aviva Premiership debut.

Scrum-half Peter Stringer returns while wings Joe Maddock and James Short are also named among the replacements.

Form: Worcester Warriors have slipped to successive narrow defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby - against Sale and Harlequins. The Warriors' only loss at Sixways in their last six encounters in all competitions was 13-32 to Leicester on 27 December. Saracens' eleven match unbeaten run ended on Sunday with their loss to Leicester by the smallest margin possible. Sarries have won five in a row away from home since their 8-30 reversal to the Saints at Franklin's Gardens on 26 November. Worcester have not beaten Saracens since their 22-8 victory at Sixways on 4 April 2009 - their only win over Sarries since 2007. The Warriors' solitary victory at Vicarage Road was 20-17 on 26 November 2006.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry (c), 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 George Porter, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert (c), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Fraser, 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 George Kruis, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 John Smit.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Joe Maddock, 23 James Short.

Date: Friday, February 24
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 19:45
Referee: JP Doyle

  • Aviva Prem Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Preview
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs Wasps15:00
London Irish vs Bath15:00
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs Northampton13:00
London Welsh vs Leicester Tigers15:15
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
  • Aviva Prem Results
Recent Results
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
Sunday , October 12
Wasps 29 - 22 Bath
Saturday , October 11
London Welsh 3 - 23 Newcastle
Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester
Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Aviva Prem Table
Aviva Premiership Table