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Preview: Connacht v Worcester

17th December 2009 14:41

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Rematch: Connacht host Worcester

Worcester's Matthew Jones will make his first start of the season in the Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Connacht at Galway Sportsground on Friday.

Jones will feature at fly-half and teams up with scrum-half Jonny Arr as Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock makes a number of changes.

"Matthew needs a big performance to challenge for a starting spot in the league - it is the same for every player now," said Ruddock.

"I told the squad in the de-brief that, whilst we are resting some performers ready for Northampton, there are no guarantees they are going to play.

"It is up to the boys coming in to put in a big performance and a big show, make me reevaluate my plans in terms of selection for Saints.

"In Matthew's case, we haven't really judged him too much on his A team game recently. Not too much on what he did on Saturday. Our main goal was to get him on the field and get him through those games without a reoccurrence of his injury.

"But on Friday we will be looking at him and judging and evaluating his game, I expect the rust to be gone on the back of his two outings so far and if he is going to be a serious contender against Northampton he has to play very well."

Marcel Garvey and Rico Gear both return to the back line, Chris Pennell moves to full back after impressing last weekend and Calum MacRae starts in the centre alongside Alex Grove.

French prop Olivier Sourgens is named in the front row, with captain Chris Fortey, and joins a second row partnership of Will Bowley and Graham Kitchener in the pack.

Flanker Jake Abbott is in the starting line-up, after returning to Warriors after his England Sevens exploits, and will line-up with James Collins and Matt Cox.

Fit again duo lock David Lyons and centre Greg King are named among the replacements.

Meanwhile, Connacht have named the same XV that beat Warriors 26-21 at Sixways last weekend.

There are two changes among the replacements with hooker Adrian Flavin returning in place of Dermot Murphy and scrum-half Kieran Campbell replacing the injured Conor O'Loughlin.

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Liam Bibo, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Aidan Wynne, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Michael Swift, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Kieran Campbell, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Troy Nathan,

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Calum MacRae, 11 Rico Gear, 10 Matthew Jones, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Matt Cox, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 James Collins, 5 Will Bowley, 4 Kitch Kitchener, 3 Olivier Sourgens, 2 Chris Fortey, 1 Adam Black.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Page, 17 Jack Gilding, 18 Tevita Taumoepeau, 19 Dave Lyons, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Greg King, 23 Dale Rasmussen,

Date: Friday, December 18
Venue: The Sportsground
Kick-off: 19.00 GMT
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Eric Soulan (France), Cyril Lafon (France)

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