Depleted Warriors to face Wasps

Worcester Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock has been forced into a number of changes for his side’s visit to Wasps tomorrow.

Matt Cox, who has impressed for England Under 20s and England Sevens this season, is handed his Guinness Premiership debut in the back row with skipper Pat Sanderson ruled out with a stinger. He joins fit again Tom Wood and Drew Hickey, with Kai Horstmann missing with a hamstring injury.

Matt Mullan replaces Aleki Lutui at hooker, the Tongan ruled out with an ankle knock, and Will Bowley replaces injured lock Greg Rawlinson.

Scrum half Jonny Arr is handed his first league start with Matt Powell not risked after a shoulder injury sustained against Montpellier. Centre duo Sam Tuitupou (wrist) and Dale Rasmussen (concussion) narrowly miss out, Rico Gear moving inside to play alongside the recalled Mark Tucker - who is set to make his 99th Premiership appearance.

Wing Marcel Garvey returns after concussion sustained against Gloucester in the last league outing and Chris Pennell plays at full back in place of South African Thinus Delport.

Rising star Graham Kitchener is named among the replacements along with fit again duo Chris Fortey and Dominic Feaunati.

“We are carrying a lot of injuries, it is the accumulation of a tough month or two,” said Ruddock. “A number of players have taken a lot of contact during those five or six games and some are struggling with niggling problems.

“But out of the bad news that is injuries come opportunities for some up and coming players. Matt Cox has returned from Sevens duty and will start in the back row. There are a number of other players that we feel have a great future who make the 22.

“It will be a big game but there are some big games to follow, if we feel we have players that are at risk of further injury then we have to make a call that we don’t play them and freshen them up to get rid of any difficulties they have.”

Worcester Warriors

15 Chris Pennell
14 Miles Benjamin
13 Rico Gear
12 Mark Tucker
11 Marcel Garvey
10 Shane Drahm
9 Jonny Arr

1 Tony Windo (c)
2 Matt Mullan
3 Tevita Taumoepeau
4 Will Bowley
5 Craig Gillies
6 Tom Wood
7 Matt Cox
8 Drew Hickey

16 Shaun Ruwers
17 Chris Fortey
18 Graham Kitchener
19 Gavin Quinnell
20 Nick Runciman
21 Joe Carlisle
22 Dominic Feaunati