Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v Harlequins

31st October 2008 12:40

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Pat Sanderson v falcons

Returning Warrior: Pat Sanderson

Talismanic loose forward Pat Sanderson is set to make his comeback from injury when Worcester tackle Harlequins in the EDF Energy Cup at Sixways Stadium on Sunday.

Worcester could still progress if they get a bonus point win and Ospreys get nothing from their trip to London Irish but Harlequins cannot make it to the semi-finals.

Sanderson has been ruled out of action since the end of August when he injured his leg in the pre-season friendly with Ulster at Ravenhill. But he has now been named among the replacements for the final pool stage clash.

Worcester Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock has made three changes to the starting line-up that lost out to Ospreys last weekend.

New Zealand wing Rico Gear has recovered from injury to take his place in the backline and Matt Powell is named at scrum half.

Young lock Graham Kitchener is called-up into the second row and will play alongside Greg Rawlinson. Former Australian international full-back Chris Latham will skipper the side.

Hooker Chris Fortey and utility back Loki Crichton are both declared fit and take their place on the bench.

"It's great to see our inspirational skipper Pat Sanderson back in the mix after injury," said Ruddock.

"There's no doubt we have missed his leadership talents and hopefully he will get through the game without any further problems and he can lead the team against Sale Sharks in our next Guinness Premiership game."

Meanwhile, Harlequins will revert to a similar line up that faced Ulster two weeks ago. In the forwards, the only change will see Tom Guest replace Nick Easter, who is on England duty, at number eight .

Whilst in the backs Seb Stegmann and Tom Williams will start on the wings, with Andy Gomarsall replacing Danny Care, who is also with England, at scrum half.

Form: Worcester Warriors' defeat at Ospreys on Sunday ended a three game winning run in all competitions. The Warriors home record in EDF Energy Cup ties is a disappointing won 2, lost 3. Harlequins only win in their eight previous EDF Energy Cup games was 10-8 at London Irish on 28 October 2007. Worcester's most recent win over Harlequins was 23-22 at Twickenham Stoop in the EDF Energy Cup on 3 November 2007.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Chris Latham (c), 14 Rico Gear, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Chris Pennell, 10 Matthew Jones, 9 Matt Powell, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.

Replacements:16 Darren Morris, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Craig Gillies, 19 Pat Sanderson, 20 Ryan Powell, 21 Loki Crichton, 22 Charlie Fellows.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Tosh Masson, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Seb Stegmann, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Will Skinner (c), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Jim Evans, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Ceri Jones.

Replacements: 16 Tani Fuga, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 George Robson, 19 Neil McMillan, 20 Gareth Williams, 21 De Wet Barry, 22 Nick Evans.

Date: Sunday, November 2

Venue: Sixways Stadium

Kick-off: 15.00 GMT

Referee: Dean Richards (England)

Touch judges: Bob Mullis (England), Brian Robertson (England)

Assessor: Tony Spreadbury (England)

Television match official: Matt Peters (England)

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