Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v Biarritz

04th December 2013 12:58

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Key man: Chris Pennell

Chris Pennell will start at full-back in Thursday's Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Biarritz Olympique after signing a new contract.

Director of Rugby Dean Ryan has named a strong side for the third European clash of the season as his side look to leapfrog their opponents and move into second place in Pool One of the competition.

Dean Hammond, Alex Grove, Josh Matavesi and James Stephenson all keep their place in the backline.

The half-back combination sees Paul Warwick partner Jeremy Su'a for the first time since Round Two of the competition.

Hooker Ed Shervington and flanker Cam Goodhue are the only two changes in the forward pack as Warriors look to make it third time lucky in Europe.

"We've not made wholesale changes but it allows the opportunity for other people to come in and make a statement," said Ryan.

"It's not about competition. It's about the club and what is right for the club each time.

"The side is significantly different to the side from the start of the season and that's because of those opportunities that have been provided.

"For 60 minutes on Saturday we were outstanding against one of the best sides in the country and everyone can see the improvement in the physicality of the side over the last eight or nine weeks."

Meanwhile, Biarritz have rested Damien Traille, Seremaia Burotu, Benoit Baby, Dimitri Yachvili and Imanol Harinordoquy for their trip to England as they battle at the bottom of the Top 14.

Julian Peyrelongue captains the side from fly-half with USA international Taku Ngwenya on the right win.

Former London Wasps prop Ben Broster is named at tighthead with France centre Benoit Baby amongst the replacements.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 James Stephenson, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Dean Hammond, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Cam Goodhue, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Whittaker, 17 Thomas Synaeghel, 18 Eugene Van Staden, 19 Erik Lund, 20 Benoit Guyot, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Benoit Baby, 23 Dan Waenga.

Biarritz: 15 Paul Couet-Lannes, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Geoffrey Sella, 12 Charles Gimenez, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Julien Peyrelongue (c), 9 Luix Roussarie, 8 Ueleni Fono, 7 Tanguy Molcard, 6 Josh Furno, 5 Mathias Marie, 4 Addison Lockley, 3 Benedict Broster, 2 Jonnah Dabti, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Whittaker, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Addison Lockley, 19 Ueleni Fono, 20 Joshua Furno, 21 Luix Roussarie, 22 Daniel Waenga, 23 Benedict Broster.

Date: Thursday December 5
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 19:45 (GMT)
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Michael Black (Ireland)
TMO: Sean Flannery (Ireland)

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