Wasps v Worcester preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
Wasps have made four changes for the Midlands ‘derby’ at home to Worcester.
Left winger Josh Bassett returns, with Sailosi Tagicakibau on the right, while lock Kearnan Myall and ex-Warriors hooker Edd Shervington both come in
Warriors scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone will make his first Premiership start as one of the several enforced changes.
Ninth-placed Wasps host tenth placed Worcester in the Aviva Premiership this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena.
The home side have made four changes for the midland’s derby, where eft winger Josh Bassett returns, with Sailosi Tagicakibau on the right, while lock Kearnan Myall and ex-Warriors hooker Edd Shervington both come in.
Warriors scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone will make his first Premiership start, one of several enforced changes.
Winger Bryce Heem has returned to New Zealand to get married, allowing another opportunity for Tom Biggs on the right wing.
Tom Heathcote is replaced at fly-half by Ryan Mills, while fit-again centre Andy Symons makes his first league start of the campaign and Sam Betty is recalled at flanker.
Worcester have won two league matches so far this year and, almost as important, they’ve nearly always picked up points in defeat.
The only match from which Worcester did not salvage something was their 27-13 loss to Sale Sharks in Round and they are now only four points away from matching their Aviva Premiership Rugby season total in 2013/14.
But Worcester will be seeking the win that snaps a seven-game losing streak in all competitions on their first-ever visit to Wasps’ Ricoh Arena on Sunday.
Worcester Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan told BBC Sport: “We’ve got some injuries so it does mean shuffling around. The players need to grab the opportunity. This side has to fight.
“In the second half against Harlequins we were such a threatening side but we still have to get that balance right between getting field position and playing.”
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young told the same website: “It’s always frustrating to lose any game, but it was the nature of the performance last weekend [against Sale] that was more disappointing to me than the result.
“We know as a group that performances like that are not acceptable and we will look to put that right this weekend.”
Wasps have slipped to three straight defeats in Premiership Rugby but have not lost four in a row in the tournament since March 2014
The hosts have also tripped up in their last three fixtures at the Ricoh Arena since their impressive victory there over reigning European champions, Toulon, in November
Worcester have now lost their last seven fixtures in all competitions since beating La Rochelle 19-3 at Sixways in round 1 of the Challenge Cup
The Warriors have lost all six away games they have played in all competitions this season. The two clubs have not met since the 2013/14 season when Wasps achieved an Premiership Rugby double over their now near neighbours
This is the Warriors first visit to the Ricoh Arena, whilst the last time they journeyed to the city of Coventry in April 2004 they achieved a 57-18 victory at the old Coundon Road against Coventry RFC
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wasps: Joe Launchbury
Worcester: Chris Pennell
Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Brendan Macken.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Biggs, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Andy Symons, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga.
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Marco Mama, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Tiff Eden, 23 Ben Howard.
Date: Sunday, January 10
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson, Wayne Falla
TMO: David Grashoff