Preview: Worcester v Harlequins

23rd Sep 2011, 18:27

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Fit to start: Shaun Perry

Fit to start: Shaun Perry

Worcester have made five changes to their side for Saturday's clash with early season league leaders Harlequins at Sixways.

Worcester Warriors have made five changes to their side for Saturday's clash with early season league leaders Harlequins at Sixways Stadium.

Lock James Percival switched The Stoop for Sixways this summer and will now come up against his old team-mates as Warriors look to secure another win on home soil after opening day success over Sale Sharks.

Head Coach Richard Hill makes a total of five changes to his starting line-up from the team that pushed champions Saracens all the way last weekend with midfield enforcer Dale Rasmussen recalled after serving a one-match suspension.

Scrum-half Shaun Perry is declared fit and will join fly-half Andy Goode at half back. Goode is set to pass yet another major milestone in the game as he is just three short of 1,500 points in Premiership rugby.

Chris Jones is given the nod in the second row while Tevita Taumeopeau packs down at prop. Neil Best returns at flanker and is joined by Jake Abbott and skipper Kai Horstmann in the back row.

Prop Ceri Jones could also come up against his old club after being named among the replacements.

"Conor O'Shea and his coaching team have got Quins flying at the start of the new Aviva Premiership season and they arrive here full of confidence with three successive wins," said Hill.

"Harlequins have a young, fit side and play with lots of enthusiasm. There is real energy about them and they have an exciting back line.

"Our defence will have to be at its best while in attack we aim to show the same kind of ruthless streak that our visitors have in the opening weeks."

Meanwhile, unbeaten Harlequisn have named an unchanged starting XV.

The only change is on the bench, where Seb Stegmann returns to the squad following injury.

The 23-man squad continues to show home grown English talent at its spine with 21 English Qualified Players and ten of the starting line up having graduated from the Quins academy system.

Form: Worcester Warriors have won just one of their last ten Premiership matches: 17-12 at home to Sale in round one of Aviva Premiership Rugby. The Warriors have won their last 16 games at Sixways in all competitions since Cornish Pirates won there, 23-21, in the RFU Championship on 22 October 2010. Harlequins have made their best start to a Premiership season since 2003/04, and head the Premiership table for the first time since round two in 2008/09. The Warriors' only win in their last ten encounters with 'Quins in all competitions was 23-22 at the Stoop in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 3 November 2007.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Kai Horstmann (c), 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Neil Best, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Chris Fortey, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ceri Jones, 17 Ed Shervington, 18 Bruce Douglas, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Andy Short.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Sam Smith, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Chris York, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw (c), 5 George Robson, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 James Johnston, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Seb Stegmann.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Chris White