Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v London Welsh

20th December 2012 12:30

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Seb Jewell London Welsh 2012

Seb Jewell: At 12 for London Welsh

London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones has made 13 changes to his starting XV for Friday's Premiership fixture with Worcester at Sixways.

The Exiles lost 27-13 to Grenoble in the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend which all but ended their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the second tier European competition.

Welsh are now looking to bounce back and pick up where they left off in the Round 10 of the Premiership - a 15-9 win over London Irish.

Victory at Sixways would see Welsh leapfrog Worcester on the table. The Warriors sit only one point above them in ninth place.

From the side that lost to Grenoble last Saturday at the Kassam Stadium, Tom Arscott keeps his place at full-back, while Seb Jewell again lines up at inside centre.

Jones brings in international experience into the run-on side in the form of Gordon Ross, Frank Montanella, Sonny Parker and Kirill Kulemin.

Rob Lewis, who has recently been signed on loan from Cardiff Blues until the end of the season, is named at scrum-half.

Arscott and flanker Adam Balding both return to Sixways where they spent several seasons.

"Worcester have stabilized in the Premiership and are now taking their game on to another level of accuracy which is required in this league," said Jones.

"We realise we have a lot of work to do to gain an understanding of what the important ingredients are in the Premiership. A win away from home against this side would be a huge achievement for us as a team."

Meanwhile, lock James Percival returns to the starting line-up to captain Worcester Warriors in this match.

Head Coach Richard Hill makes a total of four changes to his starting line-up as Warriors resume top-flight league action.

Samoa wing David Lemi is recalled while full-back Chris Pennell and centre Josh Matavesi are also back as Worcester look to maintain the club's unbeaten run on home soil that extends back to the start of September.

Hooker Aleki Lutui is named among the replacements and could make his 100th Aviva Premiership appearance if he features in the game.

"London Welsh have had a very good and cannot be underestimated," said Hill.

"Most people wrote them off before the season started, so it is credit to the coaching staff and players that they have played with no fear and have got their tactics right against most teams.

"They were promoted to the league late on, so to arrive where they are is an outstanding feat and they already have some big scalps. They will have identified this game as one that is winnable so we have got to be top notch to get a result."

Form: Worcester Warriors' last nine matches in all competitions have all been won by the home side on the day. The Warriors' single defeat at Sixways this season came on the opening weekend of Aviva Premiership Rugby on 1 September, 23-24 to Bath. London Welsh gained a fourth victory in their debut season of Premiership rugby at home to London Irish on 1 December - just one of those wins have so far come on the road: 29-19 at Sale on 21 September. This is the two clubs first ever clash in England's top flight, but they have been regular protagonists at lower levels. Of the 18 previous league meetings between the two Worcester have won the last seventeen with the Exiles' solo victory over the Warriors being 28-13 at Sixways in National One on 25 October 1997.

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival (c), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 George Porter, 18 John Andress, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Jon Clarke.

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Dan Caprice, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Rob Lewis, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Mike Denbee, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (c), 3 Arthur Joly, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Frank Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Nick Runciman, 22 Alex Davies, 23. Tom Voyce.

Date: Friday, December 21
Kick-off: 20:00
Venue: Sixways Stadium
Referee: tbc
Assistant referees: tbc
Television match official: tbc

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