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Preview: Worcester v Saracens

22nd November 2012 12:14

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Saracens Ernst Joubert 2012

Back for Sarries: Ernst Joubert

Saracens welcome back Matt Stevens, Steve Borthwick, Ernst Joubert and Richard Wigglesworth for Friday's Premiership clash with Worcester at Sixways.

Ben Ransom is named at full-back for what will be his Premiership debut.

Meanwhile, Worcester Head Coach Richard Hill has urged his Warriors to go on the attack as he rings the changes to his side.

Hill makes three changes in the back line to the side that suffered league defeat to Exeter Chiefs as Joe Carlisle is named at inside centre, where he will partner Fiji international Josh Matavesi.

A new look combination out wide will see Nikki Walker recalled for his first league start since later September after impressing in the LV=Cup while Errie Claassens is also back on the wing.

Chris Jones makes a positional change as he moves into the second row to partner captain James Percival.

Two changes in the back row see former Ireland international Neil Best make his first league start of the season while big Number Eight Semisi Taulava is also recalled after his heroics off the bench against Scarlets in the LV= Cup.

Rob O'Donnell could make his first league appearance for Warriors after being named among the replacements.

"Our selection is geared towards attack and we have made several changes," said Hill.

"We need to go out and attack the opposition and do that with some confidence.

"I'm looking for big ball carriers in the forwards and have put a talented attacking team out in the three-quarters. Our strength in depth is now much better than it was last year because we have much more competition for places

"The first part of the season is finished now," he added. "We are into this middle block of games and week in and week out we have huge fixtures. It is a very exciting period for the team to look forward to.

"We are looking at a crucial period over late November, Christmas and New Year which will determine where our season goes. We have got to make sure we prepare as well as we possibly can and get good results."

Form: Worcester Warriors' last five games in all competitions have all been won by the home side on the day. The Warriors are unbeaten in their last five matches at Sixways since their 23-24 reversal there to Bath on 1 September. Saracens' 23-25 defeat at Sale in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday ended a seven game winning run in all tournaments. Sarries only defeat on the road in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season was 12- 14 at Exeter Chiefs in round four. Worcester won the most recent encounter between the two clubs: 16-11 at Sixways on 24 February, whilst Saracens have not won at Sixways since 6 October 2007.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Josh Matavesi, 12 Joe Carlisle, 11 Errie Claassens, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival (c), 3 John Andress, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 James Currie, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Alex Grove, 23 Andy Short.

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Kameli Ratuvou, 11 Duncan Taylor, 10 Nils Mordt, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Jamie George, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Lorenzo Romano 19 Eoin Sheriff, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Sam Stanley, 23 James Short.

Date: Friday, November 23
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 20.00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720