Planet Rugby

Preview: Worcester v Harlequins

19th April 2013 08:59

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Mike Brown tackled Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 2012

Winning team reunited: Quins visit Sixways

For the first time this season, Harlequins have named the starting XV that won the Premiership Final in 2012 as they face Worcester at Sixways Stadium on Saturday.

In the forwards, James Johnston will make his 100th appearance for the club and is named in the front-row with Joe Gray and Joe Marler.

George Robson has recovered from a knock he picked up last week and starts in the second-row, while Nick Easter, who starts at number eight, will make his 200th appearance for the club.

There are two changes in the backline from the side that defeated Bath last weekend as Jordan Turner-Hall is named at inside centre, while Ugo Monye starts on the left wing.

Nick Evans continues at fly-half with Danny Care making his 100th Premiership appearance.

Matt Hopper had surgery on a finger injury on Monday and will be out for 14 weeks, while Tom Casson is still struggling with a knee injury sustained against Munster.

Meanwhile, Worcester wing Ben Howard will make his first Premiership start as the Warriors host the reigning champions in their final game at Sixways this season.

The 19-year-old has been handed a place on the wing as the Warriors make four changes to the side that faced Saracens last weekend.

Jon Clarke is named at inside centre in place of the suspended Josh Matavesi. Euan Murray and Andy Goode come back into the starting line-up after missing last Sunday's trip to Saracens.

For Goode, it will be his last appearance at Sixways in a Worcester shirt before he moves to London Wasps at the end of the season.

Matt Mullan and Matt Kvesic will also be making their final Sixways appearances for Warriors before moving to Gloucester and London Wasps respectively.

Craig Gillies and Shaun Perry are recalled to the bench as Warriors search for their sixth Premiership win of the season.

Nigel Redman, who is part of the coaching team overseeing the final two games of the season, has urged Warriors to put in a strong performance against the play-off hopefuls.

"We have picked a team with a lot of Worcester influence and we want the players to give that extra bit. If they all do that, it will be enough," said Redman.

"It's important for everyone concerned that we play with intent. Every game is a fresh occasion and a new opportunity and we will play with a positive mindset and aim to win the game.

"We have been competitive in most matches this season. Sometimes we have come up short and we are all responsible for that. When you look at our performances in some of our matches, we have looked like a very good team.

"We expect Harlequins to arrive at Sixways and play like champions. They won the Aviva Premiership title last season and will come here looking to secure a top four place."

Form: Worcester Warriors have retained ninth spot in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table ever since round 6. The Warriors only win in their last nine games in the tournament was 29-23 over London Wasps on 1st March. Harlequins' three game losing run in the Premiership ended with their 23-9 home victory over Bath on Saturday. The Quins will need to keep winning if they are to be in with a chance of defending their Premiership title by reaching the semi-finals. Harlequins have lost their last two away games, at Saracens and at Gloucester. Harlequins have won their last eleven Premiership encounters with Worcester since the Warriors 15-9 victory at The Stoop in February 2005.

The teams:

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Jon Clarke, 11 Ben Howard, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival (c), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 John Andress, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Jake Abbott, 21 Shaun Perry, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Joe Carlisle.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest,, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Date: Saturday, April 20
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Sixways Stadium
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Stuart Terheege
Timekeeper: Tony Turner
Assessor: Ed Morrison

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