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Preview: Leeds v Worcester

23rd April 2010 13:56

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Pat Sanderson relegation fight

Pat Sanderson: Back to lead the Warriors

Leeds coaching duo of Andy Key and Neil Back have made just one enforced change to their team for the relegation battle with Worcester.

Calum Clark came off injured against London Irish and has been replaced in the starting line-up by Kearnan Myall.

Leeds are still without Scott Barrow and Leigh Hinton, so the try scoring heroes from Madejski Stadium, Luther Burrell and Jon Goodridge, retain their place in the side.

Meanwhile, Scotland international Alex Grove is recalled to the Worcester Warriors starting line-up.

Centre Grove, who scored a dramatic try last weekend to secure a losing bonus point against London Wasps, is paired with Sam Tuitupou in midfield as Warriors prepare for the must-win game in Leeds. A defeat will leave Worcester all but relegated.

Skipper Pat Sanderson is also named in the team after recovering from the stinger injury that forced him off against Wasps.

"It has been a tough selection but I'm pleased that I've got a selection headache for a game of this magnitude in a number of areas, especially at centre where it has been a difficult choice," said Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock.

"Alex's recent form, particularly in making such an impact against London Wasps when he came off the bench, had to be rewarded with a starting spot.

"Pat has also improved all week and he has come through training so, providing he doesn't have any reaction, he will also be available to feature against Leeds.

"This is a huge game for us and we know what is on the line - we have had a few biggest games in the club's history over the last few years," added Ruddock.

"It is something that a lot of our players have had to deal with in the past, they have come through that test remarkable well and there is great team spirit here.

"Our fitness levels are good, our desire is fantastic and our spirit is superb. We have got good players and know we can win these games - we have to make sure we do the simple things well on Sunday.

"Leeds deserve huge credit for the way they have performed this season and I expect the game to be very tight.

"I don't think it will be a game of high scoring and counter attacking, it will be nice if we can do that but I expect it to be close and it could down to a goal kicking battle."

Form: The Warriors won 27-7 when the two teams met at Sixways in round two and Worcester have not achieved a league double over Leeds since they were paired together in National One in season 1997/98. Leeds Carnegie's three game losing run came to a halt with their 23-13 victory against London Irish at Madejski Stadium on Sunday, elevating Leeds to 9th place in the Guinness Premiership table: their highest placing (ignoring round one) since season 2004/05. Worcester Warriors have picked up just one league point from their last four games and need to win if they are to prevent themselves going through an entire league campaign without a victory on the road for the first time ever.

Leeds: 15 Jon Goodridge, 14 Henry Fa'afili, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Seru Rabeni, 11 Lee Blackett, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Erik Lund, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Mike Macdonald.
Replacements: 16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Andy Gomarsall, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Henry Paul.

Worcester: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Pat Sanderson (c), 6 Kai Horstmann, 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 Chris Cracknell, 21 Ryan Powell, 22 Matthew Jones, 23 Dale Rasmussen.

Date: Sunday, April 25
Venue: Headingley
Kick-off: 15.00 BST
Referee: Dave Pearson

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