Preview: Worcester Warriors v Saracens

Date published: February 10 2017

Worcester Warriors have made three changes to the starting line-up ahead of this Saturday’s Premiership clash with Saracens at Sixways.

Winger Perry Humphreys, lock Donncha O’Callaghan and number eight Alafoti Faosiliva all make the starting line-up, as the Warriors look to pick up vital points in their quest to move away from the relegation zone.

Ireland and Lions legend O’Callaghan will lead Warriors while back row Chris Vui is set for his Premiership debut after impressing in last weekend’s win at Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

In the replacements, new signing Ryan Grant could make his debut while Ryan Lamb returns from a lengthy injury lay-off, having not featured since October.

Fijian Tevita Cavubati and Marco Mama also return to the squad.

Meanwhile, Brad Barritt returns to captain the Saracens after serving a three-week suspension. Barritt starts at inside centre to partner the in-form Nick Tompkins in Sarries midfield, with Chris Ashton (right wing), Mike Ellery (left wing) and Matt Gallagher (full-back) starting in the back-three.

In the half-backs Alex Lozowski starts at fly-half after returning from England camp to partner scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth.

Up front, Richard Barrington, Schalk Brits and Petrus Du Plessis are named in the front-row with Michael Rhodes and Jim Hamilton packing down at lock. In the back row, Will Fraser continues in the side at blindside flanker joining Schalk Burger (openside flanker) and Jackson Wray (number eight).

On the bench, Jared Saunders, Titi Lamositele and Juan Figallo are the front-row replacements, with Mark Flanagan and Kelly Brown the other forward options. Ben Spencer is the scrum-half cover with youngster Max Malins coming into the matchday 23 on the back of a Man of the Match performance for England U20 last weekend. Marcelo Bosch will wear the number 23 jersey.

Form: Worcester Warriors only victory in the last eight rounds of the Premiership was 24-17 at home to Harlequins n New Year’s Day. The Warriors only other victory at Sixways in the tournament this season was against Newcastle in October, although they have drawn there twice, against Gloucester in round 2 and Sale in round 4. Saracens have lost just one of their last nine  Premiership Rugby fixtures: 11-14 at Bath in round 10. Saracens have conceded only ten tries in the 13 rounds so far, but surprisingly have not achieved a try bonus point themselves since their victory over Wasps in round 6. Saracens have won their last seven encounters with Worcester in all competitions since the Warriors 123 victory at Sixways in Premiership Rugby in November 2012.

The teams:

Warriors: 15 Josh Adams, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Will Spencer, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan (c), 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Biyi Alo, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Marco Mama, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Ben Howard

Saracens: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Will Fraser, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Max Malins, 23 Marcelo Bosch

Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: Sixways
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales, Paul Dix
TMO: Keith Lewis