Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish vs Worcester

25th January 2013 09:23

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Sailosi Tagicakibau Worcester v London Irish Aviva Premiership Sixways

Back in action: Sailosi Tagicakibau

Wing David Lemi and centre Josh Matavesi are both recalled as Worcester Warriors resume LV= Cup action with an away trip to London Irish.

Samoa captain Lemi features for the first time since the narrow league defeat to Leicester Tigers in early January while Matavesi is recalled to partner Jon Clarke in midfield.

Props Ceri Jones and James Currie are also handed starting spots while impressive young flanker Richard De Carpentier is also selected.

"It is a big game and we understand that London Irish are really going to go for it too. But we are in a good position; we are top of the league at the moment," said Worcester head coach Richard Hill.

"Next week we are playing Saracens at home and they are missing quite a few of their players, including their backs with the England call-ups, so we have a huge opportunity there.

"London Irish are really going to put a strong side out. However, last time they played here we managed to win and get the bonus try and it went very well. That'll be in our minds and we have talked about how we did that last time and try to replicate that."

Meanwhile, London Irish will be bolstered this weekend by the return of Sailosi Tagicakibau to the starting line-up against Worcester Warriors.

The Samoa International will join Guy Armitage in the centres with Shane Geraghty and Pat Phibbs the starting half-backs. Geraghty will again captain the side.

Phibbs and Canadian International, Jebb Sinclair, come back in after missing the last two rounds of the Amlin cup.

Our opponents on Sunday are also joint top of their Pool so like us they have a lot to play for. Worcester have a very strong squad and we're expecting an epic cup battle," said London Irish boss Brian Smith.

Irish also confirmed the signings of Mike Mayhew and Davey McGregor on short-term loan deals from Newcastle and Coventry respectively.

Form: London Irish have won their last three games in all competitions but have not won four in succession since October 2010. The Exiles' last eight fixtures in the LV= Cup have all been won by the home side on the day, and they have not lost at Madejski Stadium in the tournament since Scarlets were the visitors in November 2010. Worcester Warriors' only two away wins since New Year's Day 2012 were in Spain against Gernika and in Italy against Rovigo in the European Challenge Cup. Worcester have not won on the road in the LV= Cup since a trip to Harlequins on 3 November 2007. The two clubs have met on three previous occasions in the Anglo-Welsh Cup with the Warriors having the edge by two wins to one, with all victories being gained by the home side on the day. Worcester's only previous victory at Madejski Stadium was 20-15 in the Premiership on 11 September 2005.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Guy Armitage, 12 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Shane Geraghty (c), 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Mike Mayhew, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Davey McGregor, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Anthony Watson, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Jack Moates.

Worcester: 15 Ernie Claassens, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Danny Gray, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Richard de Carpentier, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 James Currie, 2 Ollie Hayes, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 John Andress, 19 James Percival, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Andy Short.

Date: Sunday, January 27
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Andrew Watson (England), Peter Huckle (England)
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw (England)

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