Worcester v Gloucester: Teams
At Sixways, Saturday September 15, kick-off 1.30pm
Last Updated: 14/09/12 2:06pm
Nikki Walker: Will make his debut for Worcester
Scotland international Nikki Walker will make his debut for Worcester in their Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester at Sixways on Saturday.
After signing in the summer and missing the opening weeks of the season through injury, the 30-year-old has now been declared fully fit and goes straight into the starting line-up.
Worcester make two further changes following the defeat to Leicester last time out, with Joe Carlisle coming in at inside centre and Matt Kvesic selected at No. 8.
"Nikki had a very strong pre-season with us until he injured his shoulder, a blow which was hard for him to take after missing a lot of rugby over the last 12 months," head coach Richard Hill said.
"However, he has returned to training and made a big impression. I'm excited to see him get his full debut for Warriors.
"We also bring Joe Carlisle into inside centre, where he has operated so well off the bench this season, and Matt Kvesic at No. 8, after his showing as a replacement against Tigers. I know both will be keen to grasp the big opportunity given to them.
"I've got absolutely no doubt that with the squad of players we've assembled and the way they're training and trying to play, we will get better and better throughout the course of this season.
"However, for the coaches, players, supporters and owners, a win would be huge in the derby. We are all excited about the game and playing in front of a superb atmosphere inside Sixways."
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies makes only one change to his match-day squad, with Shane Monahan replacing the injured Charlie Sharples on the right wing.
There is plenty of rotation within the 22, however, as Billy Twelvetrees moves to fly-half and Mike Tindall is promoted from the bench to inside centre.
Front-row duo Rupert Harden and Huia Edmonds also move from the bench to the starting line-up, swapping places with Darren Dawidiuk and Shaun Knight respectively.
Davies knows that his side will have a fight on their hands at Sixways despite his side's opponents having started their season with two defeats.
"We're still a team that is evolving," he said.
"We've got a lot work to do and we know that it's going to be a real dog fight. What I can assure everybody is that we'll hang in there and be in that fight.
"There are elements of the game that we have to focus on and we know that, if we get those right, then we'll be in control of the game. If we don't, they will.
"We know exactly where we are, we know exactly what we have to do and we know how tough a game this is going to be."
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Joe Carlisle, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Dean Schofield (c), 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Semisi Taulava, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Josh Drauniniu.
Gloucester: 15 Jonny May, 14 Shane Monahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Jim Hamilton (c), 4 Will James, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Sione Kalamafoni, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Rob Cook.