Worcester v La Rochelle preview: Warriors kick off European adventure
Worcester begins their European campaign at home to La Rochelle on Saturday: 15:00 kick-off
The Warriors have won 22 of their last 28 European home games
Ryan Lamb starts at fly-half for the home side
La Rochelle thrashed Oyonnax in their last game by over 30 points
Worcester will be looking for victory on their return to European competition when they face La Rochelle at Sixways Stadium this afternoon.
After promotion back to the Aviva Premiership, they will once again be playing in the competition, last playing continental rugby back in the 2013/14 season, where they failed to make it out of the pool stages.
After an impressive start to the season, head coach Dean Ryan told the club website, “I am getting frustrated with everybody talking down about us.
“I think everyone has to start understanding – that is the local media and the fans – it is about looking at where this club can go rather than to keep anchoring it to where it has come from.”
The Midlands club have an impressive home record in Europe having won 22 of their last 28 home fixtures, including a win in their last home tie against French side Oyonnax two seasons ago.
Like Ryan’s side, the French visitors have also made a decent start in the league and are currently sitting ninth after crushing a lacklustre Oyonnax side 38-3 in their last outing.
Worcester have made a good start since their return to the Aviva Premiership, winning two of their four games and they sit in sixth place in the league. They should be able to take the momentum forward to Europe and claim the win here. Worcester by 7.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Worcester: Ryan Lamb
The fly-half will be a crucial figure for his side in the game against La Rochelle and his experience playing in big games will be vital. If Worcester are to come away with anything from the match, his kicking will have to be impeccable. It will also be important he utilises the back line, getting the ball out wide as quick as possible.
La Rochelle: Zeno Kieft
The big number eight is a leader on the field and drives his side forward at the breakdown, willing them on the squeeze everything out of his side to give them the best chance of winning. With the ball in hand, he can break through tackles and gain momentum for his side. The captain will be a big player for La Rochelle.
Worcester: Ben Howard, Tom Biggs, Max Stelling, Ravai Fatiaki, Dean Hammond, Ryan Lamb, Charlie Mulchrone (capt), Ryan Bower, Ben Sowrey, Joe Rees, Tevita Cavubati, Darren O’Shea, Sam Betty, Carl Kirwan, Matt Cox
Replacements: Jaba Bregvadze, Gareth Milasinovich, Mike Daniels, Dan Sanderson, Nial Annett, JB Bruzulier, Ryan Mills, Perry Humphreys
La Rochelle: Benjamin Lapeyre, Alexander Northam, Elliot Roudil, Jean-Pascal Barraque, Martin Carre, Charles Bouldoire, Ricky Januarie, Thomas Synaeghel, Maxime Gau, Vincent Pelo, Damien Lagrange, Leo Cedaro, Romana Graham, Benoit Guyot, Zeno Kieft (capt)
Replacements: Benjamin Geledan, Mike Corbel, Gagi Bazadze, Jone Qovu Nailiko, Romain Sazy, Jules Lebail, Fabien Fortassin, Malietoa Hingano
Date: 14th November 2015