Worcester v Perpignan - Amlin Challenge Cup preview

Last Updated: 06/12/12 7:13pm

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Worcester coach Richard Hill has made just one change to his side for Thursday night's Amlin Challenge Cup match with Perpignan.

Scotland international prop Euan Murray makes his first appearance for the Warriors at Sixways, the Lions man replacing John Andress in the front row and that is the only change from the team which played Harlequins.

Worcester and Perpignan are locked at 10 points apiece at the top of the pool, with Rovigo and Bizkaia Gernika also-rans, and Hill admitted the game was crucial to Worcester's hopes of progressing in Europe this season and he expects an exciting game.

"It is a really exciting game and on the back of two very good league performances we are in a positive frame of mind," he said.

"We are desperate to get into the quarter-finals and we are top of the group at the moment. But we know we have a really tough task against a powerful French team.

"They have a quick turnaround as they travel over on Wednesday and play Thursday night so we have got to hit them with everything we can in this first game.

"If we can get a win in this one, it puts us in a strong position for the second game the following week."

Perpignan arrive off the back of a comfortable Top 14 win over Agen, and after last season's travails they are looking a much better team.

There are plenty of familiar names in their starting line-up, with James Hook pulling the strings at fly-half whilst in the back row there are three former Aviva Premiership stalwarts in Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway and Henry Tuilagi.

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 1 Ceri Jones, 2 Ed Shervington, 3 Euan Murray, 4 James Percival, 5 Chris Jones, 6 Neil Best, 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Semisi Taulava
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 John Andress, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Errie Claassens, 23 Andy Short

Perpignan: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Farid Sid, 13 David Marty, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 James Hook, 9 Florian Cazenave, 1 Sona Taumalolo, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 3 Nicolas Mas, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 7 Luke Narraway, 8 Henry Tuilagi
Replacements: 16 Romain Terrain, 17 Jerome Schuster, 18 Kisi Pulu, 19 Bertrand Guiry, 20 David Mele, 21 Lifeimi Mafi, 22 Richard Haughton, 23 Robins Tchale-Watchou

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