Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v Leicester

14th November 2013 11:40

Share:

James Percival Worcester Aviva Premiership

Returning: James Percival

James Percival will play his first match for over half a year when Worcester host Leicester Tigers in the LV= Cup on Friday.

The giant lock has been ruled out since the start of the season after undergoing a bicep operation but will return for his first taste of action under Director of Rugby Dean Ryan.

Andy Symons, who signed for the club last week, will make his full Warriors debut after coming off the bench during last Friday's victory over Cardiff Blues.

Mariano Galarza comes back into the side after being released by Argentina, while Leonardo Senatore moves in the other direction.

Ravai Fatiaki returns following a spell on the treatment table, while Paul Warwick and Jonny Arr are named as the half-back combination.

Chris Brooker will start at hooker as Warriors search for a second consecutive win against their Premiership opponents.

"We're not losing sight of the role the LV= Cup plays for us and everybody else and we've got another opportunity to go again this week," said Worcester boss Dean Ryan.

"I think it will be a big step up from last weekend. I'm sure Leicester will have a mix of youngsters and experience.

"Richard Cockerill has done a good job in the LV= Cup. He has always allowed his youngsters to play and stayed with them when they've been successful.

"It will be a good test for us to see the youngsters again in a different light against a tougher opposition."

Meanwhile, Matt Smith returns to make his first starting appearance of the season for Leicester Tigers at Sixways.

Cockerill gives a place at centre to Smith who broke a thumb in pre-season and made only a short appearance as a replacement in the league fixture against Harlequins a fortnight ago.

Sam Harrison is ruled out after taking a knock in the win over the Ospreys last Friday and his place at scrum-half is taken by David Mélé, while Jordan Crane returns at number eight.

Miles Benjamin faces his former club, and Henry Purdy, an England Under-20s international, comes in on the other wing with Blaine Scully on international duty with the USA.

French prop Jérôme Schuster is brought into the matchday squad for the first time since a switch from Perpignan.

Tigers got their LV= Cup campaign off to a good start at Welford Road last Friday with a bonus-point victory over the Ospreys with a squad featuring four debutants and three other players involved in a senior matchday at Welford Road for the first time.

"It was good to see the young lads step up and play well in a competitive first-team game. Some of those young guys are in the team this week and will have to step up again. There's a bit of experience with Boris, Jordan and Scotty Hamilton in there to hold it together," said Cockerill.

"Worcester will be a new challenge for this team. They won last week and will be looking to gain some momentum so it is down to our guys to back up last week's performance in a game away from home."

Five Leicester players are with England this weekend, and Marcos Ayerza and Pablo Matera are with Argentina.

Tigers are without Anthony Allen, Gonzalo Camacho, Tom Croft, Vereniki Goneva, Rob Hawkins, Terrence Hepetema, Ryan Lamb, Logovi'i Mulipola, Scott Steele, Mathew Tait and Manu Tuilagi due to injury.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Ben Howard, 14 James Stephenson, 13 Max Stelling, 12 Andy Symons, 11 Ravai Fatiaki, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Jeremy Becasseau, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 George de Cothi, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Dean Hammond

Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Henry Purdy, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Javiah Pohe, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 David Mélé, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Michael Noone, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Joe Cain, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Boris Stankovich (c).
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Jérôme Schuster, 19 Tom Price, 20 Harry Wells, 21 George Tresidder, 22 Pasqualle Dunn, 23 Perry Humphreys.

Date: Friday, November 15
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Sixways Stadium
Referee: Gwyn Morris (Wales)
Assistant referees: Paul Burton (England), Gareth Copsey (England)
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion (England)
Assessor: Paul Bridgman (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province Kings
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00