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Preview: Worcester v London Irish

27th September 2012 12:34

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Jonny Arr Worcester Warriors Aviva Premiership

Starting: Jonny Arr

Richard Hill has made three changes to his Worcester Warriors starting side for the Aviva Premiership clash with London Irish at Sixways on Friday.

Josh Matavesi is recalled after his impressive try scoring exploits off the bench at Northampton last weekend and will partner Alex Grove in midfield.

Scrum-half Jonny Arr is also handed a starting spot, forming a half-back pairing with Andy Goode.

One change in the pack will see Matt Kvesic named at number eight. Dean Schofield will once again captain the side from the second-row.

Two notable call-ups in the replacements are centre Jon Clarke, who could make his league debut for Warriors after a switch from Northampton, and scrum-half Ollie Frost.

Scrum-half Shaun Perry and wing Josh Drauniniu are among those ruled out of the game.

"You can't ignore the fact that those players that came on at Northampton really turned the game around and many of those deserve selection so there are some changes to the starting line-up," said Hill.

"Matt Kvesic, Jonny Arr and Josh Matavesi are all recalled while others like Craig Gillies are pushing very hard for starting spots and Josh Drauniniu would have been in contention before he unfortunately picked up an injury in training this week.

"Friday night games under the floodlights at Sixways always create a brilliant atmosphere so we're all looking forward to the game with London Irish," he added.

"We have performed well on home soil so far this season, but are yet to reap the rewards we feel we deserve.

"We know we're performing well and doing the things we should be doing. The morale is terrific and the players are working very hard. Everything is going the right way, but we want that first win to really kick us on."

Meanwhile, Sailosi Tagicakibau and David Paice have both been named in the London Irish starting line-up for the game at Sixways.

Samoa International, Tagicakibau, will start his first competitive match of the season on the wing after playing in the centre for his previous three appearances. David Paice replaces Scotland International, Scott Lawson, as hooker.

"Worcester have been highly competitive so far this season and played some good rugby. We played well last weekend but we know that counts for nothing, we have to front up again tomorrow night against the Warriors in their own backyard," said Director of Rugby Brian Smith.

Form: Worcester Warriors are still searching out their first Aviva Premiership Rugby win since round 18 last season against relegated Newcastle. The Warriors are winless at Sixways since beating Saracens there 16-11 on 24 February. London Irish opened their 2012/13 winning account at home to Bath on Saturday, but have not managed back to back victories since September 2011. The Exiles have won just once on the road in any tournament in 2012: 25-16 in this equivalent match back in April. London Irish are unbeaten in their last eleven Premiership encounters with the Warriors, Worcester's most recent win over Irish in the tournament was way back on 11 September 2005 at Madejski Stadium.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Dean Schofield (c), 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Jon Clarke.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher (capt), 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Alan Cotter, 19 George Skivington, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates.

Date: Friday, September 28
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Venue: Sixways Stadium
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Stuart Terheege
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion

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