Planet Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Worcester

28th February 2014 09:43

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Maurie Faasavalu Harlequins v Sale Sharks

Maurie Fa'asavalu: Moves to seven for Quins

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's clash with Worcester at the Stoop.

Current England U20 centre and 2013 IRB Junior World Cup winner Harry Sloan makes his Premiership debut for the club, partnering the returning Jordan Turner-Hall in the midfield.

Ugo Monye, Sam Smith and Ollie Lindsay-Hague continue in the back three.

In the forwards, behind an unchanged front five, Maurie Fa'asavalu moves to openside flank in place of Luke Wallace who picked up a knock in last weekend's to Gloucester.

Tom Guest starts on the blindside with Nick Easter continuing as captain at number eight.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lamb will make his full Warriors debut in this encounter.

The former Northampton and Leicester fly-half came on as a half-time replacement in Worcester's clash with Sale Sharks last weekend and has been handed the number 10 shirt this weekend.

Worcester's director of rugby Dean Ryan has made three other changes to his side as Warriors search for their first league win of the season.

Dean Hammond is recalled on the wing, while captain Jonathan Thomas and Rob O'Donnell both return to the starting line-up.

A much-changed replacement bench features Paul Andrew, Semisi Taulava, Paul Hodgson and Max Stelling.

"We dug ourselves into this hole by performances in the first-half of the season but I honestly believe we can stay in the Premiership," said Ryan.

"This is still a massive challenge for us. We can still get four points on the board and we can cause problems so we are not giving up any fight."

"Quins are a different side when they haven't got Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown and Danny Care. But they will still be as dangerous and capable of playing their type of game if we let them.

"We were damaged against Quins at Sixways in the first part of the season and if we sit back they are capable of doing the same again."

Form: Harlequins have picked up just 13 league points from their last six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, ranking them in 8th spot in the 'current form' table. The Londoners have won their last five home games in the tournament since Saracens visited the Twickenham Stoop on 28th September and were victorious 22-12. Worcester Warriors only two victories in any first team game since this date last year were at Cardiff in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November and at home to Oyonnax in the European Challenge Cup in January. The Warriors solitary win in their last 40 games on their travels in the Premiership since April 2009 came at Wasps on New Year's Day 2012. Harlequins have won their last 12 encounters with Worcester in all tournaments whilst the Warriors have not beaten the Londoners in the Premiership since a 15-9 result at the Stoop in February 2005.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Harry Sloan, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter (c), 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Louis Grimoldby, 23 Paul Sackey.

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Leonardo Senatore, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Max Stelling.

Date: Saturday, March 1
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Peter Huckle
Television match official: Sean Davey
Timekeeper: Robert Ockenden
Assessor: Nigel Yates

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