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Preview: Worcester v Gloucester

09th May 2014 13:06

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Jonathan Thomas Worcester Warriors AVP 2014

Jonathan Thomas: Leans an unchanged Worcester starting XV

Worcester boss Dean Ryan has named the same starting line-up for Saturday's clash with Gloucester at Sixways.

Warriors are expecting their biggest crowd of the season for the local derby as they look to end the 2013/14 campaign on a high.

Chris Pennell will make his 22nd start in 22 Premiership games in the back-line alongside Ryan Lamb, David Lemi, Andy Symons, Alex Grove and Josh Drauniniu in the backline, with Jonny Arr at scrum-half.

The front-row sees Ofa Fainga'anuku partner Agustin Creevy and Euan Murray with James Percival and Mariano Galarza in the second-row.

Mike Williams maintains his role at blindside flanker next to Sam Betty and skipper Jonathan Thomas.

Ignacio Mieres is the only change in the replacements, coming in for Paul Warwick.

Director of Rugby Ryan said: "It's important that we sign-off in the right way.

"We can't guarantee a win but we can guarantee the way we behave and give ourselves a chance and that's why this game is really important.

"I hope we sign-off in the Premiership by showing our progress. I hope we perform and illustrate how much we all care about the club.

"If that delivers a win then it would be a nice end to what has been a tough year for us."

Meanwhile, centre Henry Trinder is back in the Gloucester midfield while Jimmy Cowan will skipper the team.

It's a side that shows several changes to the starting line up from the one that defeated London Irish 38-30 at Kingsholm last Saturday.

Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall and Billy Twelvetrees are all ruled out, so Shane Monahan, Steph Reynolds and Henry Trinder come in to the starting XV. Reynolds will make his first Premiership start.

In the pack, Nick Wood returns at loosehead prop in place of Yann Thomas, Dan George replaces Huia Edmonds while James Hudson is back in the second row for Will James.

It will be Worcester's final Premiership appearance for the time being, with the Warriors already relegated. However, Director of Rugby Nigel Davies is expecting a tough encounter.

"We expect them to come full blooded at us," he said.

"They see this as a huge local derby, and so do we.

"They'll want to go out on a high and I think they're expecting a decent crowd there as well. So, I think I think they'll want to leave their supporters with something to come back to at the start of next season and their Championship campaign.

"We're fully aware of what to expect, regardless of where Worcester are. It will be a difficult encounter.

"If you look at their games this season, they've lost the vast majority of them in the last 10 minutes. They're a very competitive team, particularly at Worcester."

Form: Worcester Warriors' solitary Aviva Premiership Rugby victory this season was 17-12 at Newcastle in Round 18. Worcester will not want to become only the second side after Rotherham in 2003/04 to go through an entire Premiership campaign without a home win. Gloucester have won only one of their last seven away games in all tournaments - 14-13 at Exeter in the Premiership on March 29. The only side to have prevented Gloucester scoring a try in any game since November 2013 was Worcester on their trip to Kingsholm in Round 10. The Warriors' only victory over Gloucester since 2009 was 21-15 at Sixways on January 7 2012, whilst Gloucester have won only once at the venue since 2006 - 23-22 in the Premiership in May 2010.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Andy Symons, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Semisi Taulava, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Shane Monahan, 13 Jonny May, 12 Henry Trinder, 11 Steph Reynolds, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Dan George, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Tom Young, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Andrew Bulumakau.

Date: Saturday, May 10
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 15.15 BST
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Andy Watson and Ross Campbell
Television match official Robin Goodliffe.

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